Kitty Q on the hunt for prizes


Three awards in one go: The mobile game app Kitty Q and its follow-up project QUANTube from the Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat received three awards in one day.

The mobile game “Kitty Q – A Quantum Adventure” developed by the Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter received the “Let’s get digital” award from the Federal Association of Communications Professionals in Higher Education (Bundesverband Hochschulkommunikation) on 21 September 2022. Professor Matthias Vojta, speaker of the Dresden Cluster of Excellence, accepted the award in the Paulinum of the University of Leipzig.

At the same time, two other official award ceremonies took place in Berlin: one for the “Ideas Competition for International Research Marketing” and another for the “Community Award”, both projects funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The spokesman for the Cluster of Excellence Würzburg, Professor Ralph Claessen, the President of the Technical University of Dresden Ursula Staudinger, the President of the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg Paul Pauli and the entire project team made the journey.

“The Kitty Q app will soon be one year old, so these prizes feel like birthday presents to us,” comments Matthias Vojta.

The mobile game with its cute, half-dead protagonist Kitty Q was released worldwide in October 2021 in the Apple App and Google Play Stores, in both a German and an English language version. The app was developed by the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat in cooperation with the award-winning app designer Philipp Stollenmayer.

The goal: to get children and young people from the age of 11 playfully enthusiastic about quantum physics. This concept has proven itself, as more than 150,000 downloads worldwide and numerous other awards prove. These include first place in the “Digital” category at the German children’s media festival “Goldener Spatz”, the title “Best Mobile Indie Game” at the Valencia Indie Summit and a place among the top 10 European games by an international jury at the Google Play Indie Games Festival.

The “Let’s get digital” prize for science communication

The “Let’s get digital” award was created in 2021 by the Federal Association of Communications Professionals in Higher Education with the aim of honoring outstanding digital projects in the field of science communication that were created during the corona pandemic.

“We were convinced by almost everything that this project stands for … New ideas, diversity and, above all, showing the relevance of investments in digital university communication. In addition, we all enjoyed playing through the game,” the jury explained.

“The app has already won several awards for its storyline and game design. The fact that we are now receiving this award for what we originally set out to do, namely to increase the visibility of quantum physics for the general public and to “translate” our research in a more accessible way, makes us particularly proud,” comments Matthias Vojta.

It was not an easy undertaking to present the complex research in a way that children and young people could understand. But it was worth it, and the scientists learned a lot in the process.

The goal of the gaming app was to turn physics in general, and quantum physics in particular, into something cool and fun for players to experience while expanding their knowledge. The app allows you to immerse yourself in a visually appealing quantum world with its own laws, where more than 20 exciting puzzles, all based on real quantum phenomena, are waiting to be solved. In addition, additional background information tailored to the target group is available, for example on Albert Einstein, Schrödinger’s cat or Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

Awards for research marketing in Berlin

“It is an incredible coincidence that we are attending two award ceremonies today, and yet it fits so well with the strange phenomena in the quantum world. After all, the Schrödinger cat, which is well-known beyond physics, can be found in two states,” explains Ralph Claessen.

The simultaneously dead and alive cat in the box thought experiment was formulated by Erwin Schroedinger in 1935 and became a popular symbol for a principle of quantum mechanics known as superposition: a property by which objects can exist in two separate and simultaneously incompatible states Conditions.

The prize for international research marketing as part of the DFG ideas competition for research marketing and the joint prize of the DFG were awarded at a ceremony in the dbb forum Berlin. “Kitty Q” originally won the 100,000 euro prize for international research marketing in 2020. The joint prize and the associated prize money of 20,000 euros were originally awarded in 2021. Because of the corona pandemic, the official celebrations had to be canceled and postponed to 2022.

Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat

The Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter is a joint research cooperation between the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg and the Technical University of Dresden, which was founded in 2019. Almost 300 scientists from more than 30 countries and four continents are researching topological quantum materials here, which reveal surprising phenomena under extreme conditions such as ultra-low temperatures, high pressures or strong magnetic fields. The Cluster of Excellence is funded by the Excellence Strategy of the federal and state governments and is the only cluster in Germany that goes beyond state borders.


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