Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.
Schrödinger dreamed up a cat that, thanks to quantum physics, is half-alive and half-dead. Einstein worried about spooky action at a distance. Now Google is trying to build a quantum computer and we can communicate secretly using quantum particles. This is not even a century of progress in quantum physics. It sounds like science fiction, but that’s your job. We asked you to pick up the threads of this story and tell a new tale - and wow, you responded! The contest received over 400 entries. Our judges have a very hard job ahead.
We've announced the shortlists! Read the top ten stories in the Open and Youth categories and vote for your favourite by the end of January to help decide the People's Choice prize. You can still read all the other entries to the contest too. There were many stories we loved that couldn't squeeze into a top ten.
Colin is editor of Nature Futures, the award-winning science-fiction column in the science journal Nature. He first joined Nature in 2000 as Chief Subeditor. Since taking over the Futures reins in 2012, he has overseen the launch of Nature Futures 2, an anthology of 100 stories from 100 authors. He also runs the Future Conditional blog, where Futures authors tell the story behind their story. When not wrestling with the placement of hyphens, he has a tendency to stare at Roman ruins — especially those of Pompeii and Herculaneum — and to pore over genealogical records.