A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.
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 invite you to pick up the threads of this story and tell a new tale.
Surprise us. Thrill us. Move us. Entertain us. Take inspiration from quantum theory to write flash fiction: a story no longer than 1000 words. Visit our inspiration pages for help getting started. You have until 11:59:59 PM ET on 1 December 2015 to enter.
Chad is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College, and he writes books about science for non-scientists. He has a BA in physics from Williams College and a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park (studying laser cooling at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the lab of Bill Phillips, who shared the 1997 Nobel in Physics). He was a post-doc at Yale, and has been at Union since 2001. Chad's books How to Teach Physics to Your Dog and How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog explain modern physics through imaginary conversations with his German Shepherd, and his most recent book, Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist (Basic, 2014), explains how we use the process of science in everyday activities. He lives in Niskayuna, NY with his wife, Kate Nepveu, their two kids, and Emmy, the Queen of Niskayuna. Photo credit: Ryan Lash