Cute but half-dead
Ding, dong. There is a box in front of the door. And inside there is ... a cute but half-dead cat! The main character of the new game app "Kitty Q" of the Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat–Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter of the Universities of Würzburg and Dresden accompanies children and teenagers aged 11 and older into the crazy quantum world. The adventure is intended to primarily get girls excited about the fascinating phenomena of quantum physics. The model for the lovingly designed "Kitty Q" is a popular thought experiment in quantum mechanics by Nobel Prize winner Erwin Schrödinger (1887 – 1961), known as Schrödinger's cat–alive and dead at the same time.
But fun first
Those who embark on adventure with "Kitty Q" can tinker, try out, experiment on their smartphones and solve more than 20 attractive brainteasers along the way. Importantly, the kids don't have to be math whizzes or physics geniuses. After all, "Kitty Q" is all about fun!
"The game is an Escape Game after all, even though it conveys quite serious scientific content. It is intended to awaken curiosity and encourage trying things out. Indeed, that's what science is all about: discovering new things by thinking and experimenting," says the app designer Philipp Stollenmayer, explaining the character of the game app he developed. "The gamers experience an exciting world, collect stickers and design their cat individually. Just like in real life, you need to work in the quantum world to acquire your knowledge. It was important to me to show how much fun this could be!" "Kitty Q" is the first commissioned project for Stollenmayer who otherwise works exclusively on his own and has won all the major prizes in game design since 2013–most recently the Apple Design Award 2020.
Gaming Lounge at the "Highlights of Physics"–pre-ordering started
Before the app is released worldwide free of charge in mid-October 2021, it can be tested in advance in the "Kitty Q" gaming lounge at the "Highlights of Physics" science festival (Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, 2021) in Würzburg. In addition, the game can be pre-ordered now in the App Store. If the app is pre-ordered, the download will start automatically on the day of release. On release day, the app will also be available in the Play Store.
Donuts, randomness, cold chips
The focus of the game app is on the more than 20 puzzles based on scientific facts from quantum physics–the concept of chance, donuts as "symbol" of topological quantum physics, cold chips for revolutionary high-tech and quantum computers, to name a few examples. Those who like can access background knowledge, edited in a popular way, as "Kittypedia articles" as soon as a puzzle has been solved.
"The research field of our Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat–topological quantum physics–promises revolutionary insights and groundbreaking developments. But the subject is still so young that it will take quite a few years before it arrives in classroom. We are trying to bridge this gap with the app," explains Matthias Vojta, Professor of Theoretical Solid State Physics at Technische Universität (TU) Dresden and spokesperson of the Dresden branch of the ct.qmat research alliance. Topological quantum physics uses topology–a branch of mathematics–as a tool to theoretically describe the interior of novel quantum materials. This is a Nobel Prize-winning research approach that ct.qmat applies.
Attracting female physicists
The game takes unusual approaches to attract children and teens to mathematics, computer science, natural and technical sciences (STEM)–and especially to quantum physics–at an early age. The focus is particularly on girls, since young women are underrepresented in physics degree programs in particular. The game targets at an age group in which interest in physics and the natural sciences is shaped.
"At least since the German government passed the economic stimulus package last year and more than two billion euros flow into German quantum research, our field of science has arrived in society. Unfortunately, there is already a significant shortage of skilled personnel in physics. With our mobile game, we want to make physics an experience, appeal to tomorrow's researchers and Nobel Prize winners, and thus keep Germany's high tech economy running," comments the spokesperson of the Würzburg branch Ralph Claessen, Professor of Experimental Physics at Julius Maximilian University (JMU) Würzburg.
The game app "Kitty Q - a quantum adventure" is expected to be released on 13.10.2021 worldwide in the App Store and Play Store and is free of charge. A digital press conference is planned around the day of the release. Registration at [email protected]
You will find a wide range of images, photos and video material on our media server: https://www.kamibox.de/katzeQ-media
NEW added are a trailer with statements of children and parents as well as daily updated photos from the gaming lounge and the project participants. All files may be used freely for reporting about the game app "Kitty Q" with copyright notice.
More information on the app is available from the companion website: https://kittyQ.app
Contact for journalists
Katja Lesser, Public Relations Officer Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat, phone: +49 351 463 33496, [email protected]
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is funding the Mobile Game project with 100,000 euros within the framework of the International Research Marketing Ideas Contest. The contest is part of the "Research in Germany" initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The initiative presents Germany as an attractive location for research and innovation worldwide and establishes a forum for international exchange and cooperation. For more information on the award: https://www.ctqmat.de/de/news/2021-03-19-ganz-verspielt-deutsche-forschungs-gemeinschaft-foerdert-handyspiel-zur-quantenphysik-mit-100-000-euro
Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat
The Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat–Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter has been jointly run by Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and TU Dresden since 2019. More than 270 scientists from 33 countries and four continents are exploring topological quantum materials that reveal surprising phenomena under extreme conditions such as ultra-low temperatures, high pressure, or strong magnetic fields. The Cluster of Excellence is funded within the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments.