The Quantum Shorts competition started in 2012, alternating between annual calls for flash fiction and short films. It is organised by the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore, and encourages writers to imagine how quantum physics might impact future lives – or to explore the hidden effects it might already be having on the world around us. Artur Ekert, CQT Director and one of the judges of the Quantum Shorts Flash Fiction Competition 2020, says, “In these days of quantum computers and quantum satellites, even the news can read like sci-fi. We invite writers to explore behind the headlines and tell stories with emotion and imagination.”

Every year, Quantum Shorts is supported by a hard-working group of elite partners. Scientific American, the longest continuously published magazine in the U.S., and Nature, the international weekly journal of science, are media partners for the competition. The Quantum Shorts Flash Fiction Competition 2020 is also supported by its scientific partners, leading quantum research centres around the world. They are the Dodd-Walls Centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM), QuTech, and the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

From all the entries submitted, a panel of experts will shortlist 10 outstanding flash fictions before the competition’s distinguished judges select the winner and runner-up for the top prizes. The People’s Choice Prize from the shortlisted entries will be decided by public vote.

Submissions to Quantum Shorts can be entered via the website which also features resources on quantum physics and a full set of rules and guidelines. The deadline for entries is 23:59 GMT, 29 February 2020.

Launching together with the new call for entries is an anthology of past winners and shortlisted entries from the flash fiction editions of the competition. The Quantum Shorts e-book presents stories ranging from bold imaginings of a quantum future to contemplations rooted in the everyday.

“We are very proud to launch this unique collection of extraordinary stories,” says Michael Brooks, who is one of the book’s editors. “Each of the authors offers a fresh and exciting take on our place in the quantum world.”

The e-book is free to download on the Google Play Store, Apple Books, Kobo stores,, and the Quantum Shorts website.


Calling all writers! QuantIC is delighted to announce a new call for entries to the Quantum Shorts Flash Fiction Competition 2020. We want stories of up to 1000 words long that take inspiration from the mind-blowing world of quantum physics. The Quantum Shorts competition is free to enter, offering prizes of up to US$1500.

As before, this year’s writers will have a constraint to work with. Their stories must include the phrase “things used to be so simple”. This phrase was taken from the winning story of the 2017 edition of the competition, “Acceptable Loss” by Przemysław Zańko.


Participation in the Quantum Shorts Flash Fiction Competition 2020 is open to individuals worldwide who are age 13 and over as of the date of entry.


Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore


Up to thirteen (13) prizes (each, a “Prize”) will be awarded across the Contest. 

Up to ten (10) stories will be shortlisted. A shortlist award of USD 100, a certificate and a one-year digital subscription to Scientific American will be awarded to each Shortlisted Entrant.

First prize: USD 1500 and an engraved trophy

Runner up: USD 1000 and an engraved trophy

People’s Choice Prize: USD 500 and an engraved trophy

Certificates and trophies will be shipped at no extra charge on provision of a postal address.


Contest begins at 12.00.01 AM GMT on December 10, 2019 and ends at 11:59:59 PM GMT on February 29, 2020.


How to Enter.  To enter, go to (“Site”) during the Contest Period (as defined below), read the Official Rules, create an account on the website, and then submit your entry by typing or pasting your short story into the online form and completing the required fields. Only online submissions will be accepted.  All entry information and short stories shall be collectively referred to herein as the “Submissions” or each as a “Submission.”  Submissions must comply with the Guidelines and Restrictions defined below.  Organizer reserves the right to cancel or modify this Contest in the event an insufficient number of entries are received that meet the minimum judging criteria.

All entrants must have a valid email address. No automated entry devices and/or programs permitted.  Receipt of entries will not be acknowledged. Organizer is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, stolen, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible, technically corrupted or garbled entries, which will be disqualified, or for problems of any kind whether mechanical, human or electronic.  Only fully completed entry forms are eligible.  Proof of submission will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by Organizer.

Submission Guidelines:

  • The Submission must not exceed 1000 words in length.
  • The Submission must be clearly inspired by some aspect of quantum physics.
  • The Submission must include the phrase “things used to be so simple” (“Constraint”)
  • The Submission must be in English.
  • The Submission must be typed or copied and pasted into the entry form at the time of entry.


  1. The Submission must be 100% original and entrant must be the sole and exclusive owner and copyright holder of the Submission;
  2. The Submission is eligible after prior publication only if the first publication date was after 1 December 2017;
  3. The Submission must not contain material that violates or infringes any rights of any other party, including but not limited to copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity or any other intellectual property rights;
  4. The Submission must be suitable for general audiences;
  5. The Submission must not in any way disparage Organizer, Media Partners, Scientific Partners, or any other person or party;
  6. The Submission must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous;
  7. The Submission must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age;
  8. The Submission must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations of the United States, Singapore or of any jurisdiction where Submission is created; and
  9. The Submission cannot promote illegal drugs or firearms (or the use of any of the foregoing), or any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous, or any particular political agenda or message.
  10. Organizer’s decisions are final and binding in all matters relating to this Contest, including, but not limited to, interpretation and application of these Official Rules.  By entering the Contest, entrants fully and unconditionally agree to be bound by these rules and the decisions of the judges, which will be final and binding in all matters relating to the Contest.  Organizer reserves the right to select fewer than the stated number of prizes if, in its sole discretion, it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible and qualified Submissions.

Judging/Judging Criteria.

The judging process will take place in stages as follows:

Shortlisting: Representatives of the Organizer and Partners that have the required knowledge and experience to apply the judging criteria will shortlist Submissions. All Submissions will be judged based on the following criteria (“Judging Criteria”): (a) storyline, (b) creative use of Constraint, (c) link to quantum physics, and (d) quality of writing. Subject to verification, eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules, up to ten (10) Submissions will be shortlisted (“Shortlisted Entrants”). Shortlisted Entrants will be notified by the end of April, 2020.

Selection of Prizewinners: A panel of judges selected by the Organizer that have the required knowledge and experience to apply the Judging Criteria will select one (1) winner (“Winner”) and one (1) runner-up (“Runner-Up”) from the Shortlisted Entrants. Subject to verification, eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules, the Winner and Runner-Up will be selected by the judging panel on or about June 2020.  In the event that the judges declare a tie with respect to any Winner or Runner-Up position the cash portion of the applicable Prize will be divided equally between entrants who submitted the tied Submissions, and each of the tied entrants will receive a trophy.

Public Voting for People’s Choice Prize: Online public voting on the shortlist begins at 12.00.01 AM GMT on May 01, 2020 and ends at 11:59:59PM GMT on May 15 2020 (the “Voting Period”).  Members of the public can go to the Site during the Voting Period to vote for the Submission that best meets the Judging Criteria, as described in these Rules. Voting is limited to one (1) vote per person/authorized account holder during the Voting Period.

Organizer retains the right, at its sole discretion, and without prior notice to entrants, to change or delay the dates of the judging process.


See the competition webpage for more information.