Public Outreach

In addition to educating a new generation of students and scientists, IQIM strives to engage the public’s fascination with the mysteries of the quantum realm. Follow our blog Quantum Frontiers with regular posts by IQIM graduate students, faculty, postdocs, and a few guest authors. Topics include discussion of recent breakthroughs in science, insights into the community and life of scientists here and around the world, along with highlights of our outreach efforts.

IQIM’s Twitter account @IQIM_Caltech builds community with other quantum science centers (JQI, Perimeter Institute, CQT, IQC, IST Austria, and others) by coordinating scientific announcements and promoting the work of quantum scientists from around the world. We also highlight women scientists in our regular #QuantumWoman feature; and as part of our celebration of the 50 th anniversary of Feynman’s Nobel Prize, we post a regular series of Feynman quotes and images as part of #FeynmanFriday.


A two day celebration of Richard Feynman’s life & legacy


On May 11 & 12, 2018, Caltech and PMA presented Feynman 100, a celebration of Richard Feynman’s life & legacy on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

The May 11 evening event celebrated his broad contributions to science and society as a scientist, teacher, and curious character. Speakers included: Robbert Dijkgraaf, Freeman Dyson, Joan Feynman, Michelle Feynman, Janna Levin, John Preskill and Kip Thorne, Tom Rosenbaum and Leonard Susskind. The evening also included two special video presentations featuring Bill Gates and words from Richard Feynman.

The May 12th, day-long Scientific Symposium brought leading scientists to Caltech to survey the current frontiers of knowledge and share their vision of where science is heading. As Richard Feynman looked toward the future with enthusiasm and curiosity, these are the talks he would have wanted to attend. Speakers include: Rana Adhikari, Jason Alicea, David Gross, Christopher Monroe, Hirosi Ooguri, Sara Seager, and Michael Turner.


One Entangled Evening and Quantum Summit

On January 27, 2016, Caltech hosted IQIM’s One Entangled Evening, a night of science and entertainment celebrating Richard P. Feynman’s quantum legacy. A crowd of over 1,200 guests were hosted by IQIM Director John Preskill, Nobel laureate Dave Wineland, and Microsoft Senior Researcher Krysta Svore in discussion about possibilities for quantum science. The program included artistic and humorous elements; amateur actor and NASA/JPL engineer Steve Collins, performed a monologue from a Feynman lecture, a musical rendition of One Entangled Evening was presented by Preskill and entertainer Gia Mora, and the premier of the short film Anyone Can Quantum. The evening also included remarks from Yuri Milner and Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum, a video from Bill Gates and comments from Richard Feynman’s daughter, Michelle Feynman.


Media Appearances and Web-based Outreach

Quantum Meets Hollywood

Scientists and Hollywood are both searching for creative ways to describe new, mind-blowing ideas of what might be possible now and in the future.  IQIM has embraced a broad approach toward our outreach program that includes introducing quantum concepts to the public through gamesanimations, and short films.  Through quirky collaborations with Dr. Stephen Hawking and Hollywood superstars Paul Rudd, Zoe Saldana and Keanu Reeves, IQIM has introduced the public to heady concepts such as quantum entanglement and quantum superposition, sharing a bit of our enthusiasm for a quantum world where things don’t always behave as we expect.

For more information about the science behind other Hollywood projects including Ant Mandiscussions of time with William Shatner, the idea of entanglement as a bridge through spacetime, and more can be found in stories in our Media Archive or on our blog Quantum Frontiers.

Anyone Can Quantum

What if our very future depended on the ability of an actor to beat one of the most revered physicists of our time at a game of quantum chess? The film short Anyone Can Quantum presents a duel between theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Ant Man actor Paul Rudd, as narrated by the ageless time traveler Keanu Reeves.  The game brings elements of superposition and entanglement to classical chess, allowing such moves as a queen in two places at once or a bishop that’s position changes when nearby pieces are attacked.  

The brainchild of  IQIM’s Manager of Outreach Spiros Michalakis and quantum chess creator Chris Cantwell, this zany project became a true collaboration with director Alex Winter, writer Jose Gonzalez, and former IQIM postdoc Gorjan Alagic, proving that “Anyone Can Quantum.”


Quantum Is Calling

Partnering with Stephen Hawking and actress Zoe Saldana, Caltech’s Institute of Quantum Information and Matter and Kavli Nanoscience Institute join Trouper Productions and Cinestar Pictures in releasing “Quantum is Calling.” Directed by Alex Winter, the short film features Saldana and Hawking solving a cryptic riddle when Simon Pegg’s cat disappears into the Quantum Realm. Including cameos by John Cho, Keanu Reeves, Paul Rudd and Pegg, the video is designed to stimulate interest and promote education in the emerging scientific field of quantum information theory and quantum computing.

In this video, Saldana works desperately to solve the puzzle and retrieve Pegg’s cat, revealing a fascinating, newly discovered property of quantum entanglement, and an opportunity to boldly go where no man or woman has gone before. With contributions from the universes of Star Trek, The Matrix, and Marvel, “Quantum is Calling” is a puzzle-solving adventure unlike anything you’ll ever see.


IQIM in the Media

Members of IQIM often have opportunities to share the vision and mission of our Center with a broader, non-technical audience. The videos below highlight some of our recent media appearances.  You can view the rest of our videos, along with podcasts, interviews, and other media here.

Introduction to IQIM

Watch on YouTube!

IQIM Presents: My Father

Watch on YouTube!

IQIM Presents: My Freedom

Watch on YouTube!

Xie Chen

IQIM Presents: Greater Than Its Parts

Watch on YouTube!

Recent Media Activity

Visit the Media Archive for More


PhD Comics by Jorge Cham

PhD Comics

Jorge Cham of PhD. Comics is one of our most popular outreach partners. His animations are an accessible way to communicate challenging scientific ideas, allowing IQIM connect with his audience of graduate students, scientists, and journalists.  Our most recent animation is “Quantum Knots” (Dec 2014) featuring Gil Refael and Jason Alicea. Since June 2013, the four IQIM animations have had over 1,000,000 combined views.

Quantum Knots PhD Comics

Quantum Knots

Physicists Gil Refael and Jason Alicea explain how to do the impossible: split an electron.

An Adventure in Quantum Physics by Jorge Cham

An Adventure in Quantum Physics

How do you make something that has never existed before?

We Didn't Know it was Impossible by Jorge Cham

Doing The Impossible

Two Quantum physicists describe doing what many thought wasn’t possible.

Quantum Computers Explained by Jorge Cham

Quantum Computers Explained

Physicists John Preskill and Spiros Michalakis describe how things are different in the Quantum World.


InnoWorks Academy, Project Scientist Academy, and more

K-12 Programs

IQIM interacts broadly with K-12 students and we also include teachers.  Over 1,000 students participate in programs held on the Caltech campus including Project Scientist Academy, Southern California State Science Olympiad, and InnoWorks Academy.  IQIM hosts high school teachers for a Summer Research Institute; a six-week immersion in the laboratory experience working directly with faculty, students and researchers.  IQIM faculty also participate in STEM initiatives at Pasadena High School.

Members of IQIM ranging from graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, staff and faculty participate in classroom visits, qCraft gaming demonstrations, Skype discussions with classrooms, and other media such as interviews and discussions on podcasts.  Find links to these in the Media Archive.

Project Scientist

Project Scientist

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 Science Olympiad

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Innoworks Academy

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K-12 Teacher & Classroom Interactions

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Quantum Games

qCraft, Quantum Chess, and more

Quantum Games

IQIM’s quantum game program began by developing qCraft (in collaboration with Google and MinecraftEDU); a mod that brings concepts of quantum physics into the popular online game Minecraft. Using qCraft within Minecraft, kids learn about quantum superposition and quantum entanglement, and may apply this knowledge to solve a series of puzzles. The qCraft mod has been downloaded from qcraft.org over three million times in over 100 countries. After the success of qCraft, we took quantum games to a higher level with Quantum Chess, the outcome of a two-year collaboration with USC physics grad student Chris Cantwell.

In Quantum Chess, pieces can be in a superposition of different squares on the board, and a projective measurement occurs when a piece is attacked. Quantum Chess is the first game ever built on top of a quantum physics engine and serves as a great example of how a classic game can be re-imagined, bringing quantum phenomena to the forefront. Moreover, we expect Quantum Chess to stimulate further research on quantum adaptations of machine learning algorithms. Future Quantum Chess matchups between small quantum computers and classical supercomputers may open a new front in the battle for quantum supremacy!

qCraft in Action!

Pictures from the qCraft event during the 2015 Bring Your Child to Work Day

2013 Minecon

Pictures from the qCraft booth at the 2013 annual Minecraft Convention