Quantum physics explained simply! Award-winning game app „Kitty Q“ launches „QUANTube“ series with explainer videos
The Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat–Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter of the Universities of Würzburg and Dresden was awarded in December a 2nd place in the category „Best Serious Game 2021″–as part of the first Games Innovation Award Saxony–for its novel game app “ Kitty Q–a Quantum Adventure“. The mobile game, which encourages children and young people to learn more about physics in a playful way, has been available in the App and Play stores since mid-October. To date, the app has been downloaded 65,000 times worldwide.
In January 2022, the follow-up project „QUANTube–Science Break“ will be launched. In the video series, early career researchers from the Cluster of Excellence and its partner institutions will answer questions from „Kitty Q“ players on quantum physics on a monthly basis. The concept has now been awarded the 20,000 Euro Community Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG).
„We are thrilled that our app ‚Kitty Q‘ was honored as a ‚Serious Game‘ at the Games Innovation Award Saxony. The references to quantum physics are always there, but our game can also be played completely without math or physics know-how. Detailed background knowledge is optionally available in the ‚Kittypedia‘. We invested a lot of work in compiling these generally understandable encyclopedia articles on quantum physics. We are immensely pleased that this award highlights the aspect of knowledge transfer in particular,“ explains Prof. Matthias Vojta, Professor of Theoretical Solid State Physics at Technische Universität (TU) Dresden and spokesperson of the Dresden branch of ct.qmat.
The next round of “ Kitty Q“ is now starting with the project „QUANTube–Science Break“: „From January 2022 on, our young researchers will be answering questions about quantum physics sent to us by players from all over the world in entertaining explanatory videos. We are challenging ourselves in terms of easy comprehensibility and language suitable for children and young people,“ explains the spokesperson of the Würzburg branch of the Cluster Prof. Ralph Claessen, Professor of Experimental Physics at Julius Maximilian University (JMU) Würzburg. „The fact that the DFG has now awarded a Community Prize to ‚QUANTube‘ is a special honor for us because it is awarded by marketing experts from the research community and not by a specialist jury. Perhaps there is even some curiosity about our implementation behind the vote.“
The game app „Kitty Q“ has so far been downloaded 65,000 times worldwide. „It’s great to see how enthusiastically people are playing and how great the feedback and ratings are. That is anything but a matter of course for a game that imparts knowledge,“ says app designer Philipp Stollenmayer, who developed the game for the Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence. So far, Stollenmayer has won all the major prizes in game design for the games he has developed on his own–most recently the Apple Design Award 2020.
Answering questions from the players using video
Whoever solves a certain puzzle in the mobile game “ Kitty Q–a Quantum Adventure“ earns a bonus app, which can be used to ask the researchers of the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat a question. So far, more than 45 questions on physics and quantum physics have been sent via the in-game bonus app.
All questions will be answered by the doctoral and postdoctoral researchers of the Cluster of Excellence on a topic-related basis in YouTube explanatory videos starting as of January 2022–in school break length of about five minutes and in line with the Science Year 2022, which has the motto „Inquire into a matter“. For recruiting next generation of scientists, the cluster also relies on its strong network with five non-university partner institutes: Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids Dresden, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems Dresden and Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research.
„QUANTube–Science Break“ #1 Schrödinger’s Cat
The first QUANTube episode answers questions about „Schrödinger’s cat“. The video will be published on the YouTube channel of the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat at the end of January: https://www.youtube.com/c/ClusterofExcellencectqmat
America, England, Vietnam, China, and Germany–questions about cats were sent in from all over the world: What does the Q in kitty Q stand for? Why is the cat half dead? How long do cats live when they are half dead? What do the cat’s atoms look like when it is dead and alive at the same time? Why did Schrödinger use a cat and not another animal in his thought experiment in the first place?
A little preview of the new QUANTube video series is provided by a teaser video that answers the question, „What do cats actually have to do with physics?“
The Community Prize for International Research Marketing is a new competition format of „Research in Germany“ – an initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), implemented by the DFG. This year, six project ideas from German universities and research institutions were each awarded 20,000 euros. Around 350 people from the „community“, i.e. with content related to the topics of „internationalization“ or „international research marketing“, took part in the online voting. The aim of the competition is to increase the international visibility and networking of German universities and research institutions.
Games Innovation Award Saxony
The Games Innovation Award Saxony (GIAS) is an initiative of the association Games & XR Mitteldeutschland, sponsored by the Free State of Saxony. The GIAS was awarded for the first time. There were a total of 56 submissions for six categories. The award ceremony took place online on December 2, 2021. The 2nd place in the category „Best Serious Game 2021“ was honored with an award and non-monetary prizes.
Katja Lesser, Public
Relations Manager of the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat
Tel.: +49 351 463-33496
Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat
The Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat–Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter is a joint research collaboration by Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and Technische Universität (TU) Dresden since 2019. More than 270 scientists from 34 countries and four continents perform research on topological quantum materials that reveal surprising phenomena under extreme conditions such as ultra-low temperatures, high pressures, or strong magnetic fields. If it becomes possible to exploit these unusual properties under ambient conditions, they will serve as a foundation for revolutionary quantum chips and new types of technological applications. The Cluster of Excellence is funded within Excellence Strategy of the federal and state governments-as the only cluster in Germany that traverses federal state boundaries.
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