Open Category

This judging panel will select the winners and runners-up in the open category.

Mark Alpert

Mark is the author of five novels: Final Theory, The Omega Theory, Extinction, The Furies and The Six. He is also a contributing editor at Scientific American. In his long journalism career he has specialized in explaining scientific ideas to readers, simplifying esoteric concepts such as extra dimensions and parallel universes. And now, in his novels, Alpert weaves cutting-edge science into high-energy thrillers that elucidate real theories and technologies.

Mariette DiChristina

Mariette oversees Scientific American, ScientificAmerican.com, Scientific American Mind and all newsstand special editions. She is the eighth person and first female to assume the top post in Scientific American's 168-year history. Under her leadership, the magazine received a 2011 National Magazine Award for General Excellence. A science journalist for more than 20 years, she first came to Scientific American in 2001 as its executive editor. She was named an AAAS Fellow in 2011. She was also the president (in 2009 and 2010) of the 2,500-member National Association of Science Writers. She is a visiting scholar in the graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program at New York University.

Artur Ekert

Artur is the Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies; and Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore. He is also a Professor of Quantum Physics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, UK. His main research interest is information processing in quantum systems. Artur is a co-inventor of quantum cryptography, which uses the fundamental laws of physics to guarantee perfectly secure communication. He has worked, communicated with and advised several companies and government agencies. He is a recipient of several awards, including the 1995 Maxwell Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics and the 2007 Royal Society Hughes Medal. In his non-academic life he is an avid scuba diver.

Pawel Frelik

Paweł is Associate Professor in the Department of American Literature and Culture at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland and the director of the newly-established Video Game Research Center at MCSU. His research interests include science fiction and its visualities, unpopular culture, and trans-media storytelling. He is also an editorial consultant for Science Fiction Studies and Extrapolation, and a member of the editorial board of Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds. He currently serves as Immediate Past President of the Science Fiction Research Association, the largest and the oldest professional organization in the field of science fiction studies.

Michael Mrak

Michael is the design director for Scientific American and responsible for ScientificAmerican.com, and its newsstand specials. He and his team establish the visual language for the brand and produce its award-winning graphic design, illustrations, photography and information graphics. He was not always a science journalist, having designed for magazines as disparate as Esquire and Architectural Record, but his love of science led him to work for Discover magazine and produce award winning design for that publication as well. Always curious, he works on and builds cars, is an illustrator and practices fencing in his off time.

Colin Sullivan

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.

Eleanor Wong

Eleanor Wong has pursued parallel careers in media and law. As a playwright and poet in Singapore, she is best known for her trilogy of plays Invitiation to treat (2003). Eleanor was writer-in-residence at the Centre for Quantum Technologies in 2014. During this time, she worked on a new play drawing inspiration from ideas and themes in the quantum world to inform and illumine ordinary life. Eleanor is also an Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore, where she is Vice Dean of Student Affairs and Director of the Legal Skills Programme.