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Churchill discusses aliens, quantum films make the cut, graphene in a dress


By Sarah Tesh

Last September, the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore invited people to submit short films about quantum physics for their Quantum Shorts 2016 competition. Both scientists and filmmakers alike have made the short list, which has just been released. The films could be about the science, history, theories, technologies or philosophies of quantum mechanics – anything that sparked the imagination. The online competition has been going since 2012 and alternates between short films and flash fiction, and this year the films will be screened at a film festival as well. The shortlist comprises of 10 films, all available to watch and vote for online. There are supernovae, love triangles, muesli with bananas and cats – everything you could want to help explain quantum physics.

If you asked people to name things that Winston Churchill is famous for, an interest in extraterrestrial life would probably not be on the list. However, historians have discovered an essay written by the influential politician on the possibility of alien life. He discusses the future of landing on the Moon, Mars and Venus, the difficulties of interstellar travel and the likelihood of there being life outside the solar system.

The wonder material graphene receives a lot of scientific attention. It seems like every week it has achieved a new first in science. Now, it’s branching into fashion. A group from the University of Manchester, UK, teamed up with the city’s intu Trafford Centre shopping mall and wearable-tech company Cute Circuit. They incorporated the carbon into a dress, along with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).  The LEDs change colour in time with the wearer’s breathing. The graphene not only powers the LEDs but is also used to sense the wearer’s breath.

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