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Germany’s First Quantum Physics Escape Room Opens

04/25/2024

The award-winning Kitty Q app can now be experienced as an escape room. Today the Dresden-Würzburg Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat hosted the opening ceremony at Technische Sammlungen Dresden.

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The Prime Minister of Saxony and patron of the project, Michael Kretschmer, was one of the first guests in the new Escape Room, along with children from the Dresden University School. (Image: Amac Garbe)

“What is in the box? Kitty Q!” now echoes through Technische Sammlungen Dresden, the city’s science museum. The cute, half-dead cat is the star and namesake of the first quantum physics-themed escape room in Germany for youngsters, opened today. Inside the mysterious box is a quantum apartment filled with 17 puzzles. Visitors can delve into phenomena from the intriguing quantum world in a multisensory experience, guided by the voice of comedian Olaf Schubert. The project was developed by the Dresden-Würzburg Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat in collaboration with award-winning game designer Philipp Stollenmayer. The patron is Michael Kretschmer, Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony.

Randomness, Donuts, and Cold Chips

Perfect for family outings, children’s birthday parties, and school field trips, the enigmatic box features four distinct rooms that challenge visitors to explore the quirky quantum world in a multisensory experience and discover the fate of Kitty Q – is she dead or alive? Embedded in this adventure are 17 puzzles, each grounded in scientific phenomena and practical applications of quantum physics, including donuts as its “hallmark,” the principle of randomness, and energy-saving cold chips for future computers.

The Kitty Q encyclopedia “Kittypedia to go” provides easily understandable background knowledge for each puzzle, enriching the learning experience. Narration by local comedian Olaf Schubert guides visitors through the quantum apartment’s very own living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen – spaces where things behave very differently from ordinary life. The Kitty Q Escape Room can be explored in English or German.

New Highlight for Dresden and Saxony

“The Free State of Saxony is a high-tech region renowned for its leadership in microelectronics and for exceptional research. The development of new quantum technologies is crucial for the future on a global scale – and with the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat, Saxony is a global player. Saxony and Dresden, its capital, now have a unique highlight in the form of the first quantum physics escape room for youngsters in Germany. It makes this exciting field of research accessible to all age groups and I am honored to serve as its patron. I’m delighted that, as a result, even very young people will find out about our region’s huge potential. This, too, is Simply Saxony.” Michael Kretschmer, Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony and Patron of the Kitty Q Escape Room

“Saxony, a beacon of scientific innovation, now boasts a new attraction: Germany’s first quantum physics escape room for youngsters. We’re excited to support this extraordinary project designed to attract young people to Saxony’s vibrant science sector, including in connection with our SPIN2030 campaign for the Science State Saxony.” Sebastian Gemkow, State Minister for Science, Culture and Tourism of the Free State of Saxony

“Besides pushing the boundaries of knowledge with their science, the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – a joint project of the Universities of Dresden and Würzburg – the ct.qmat escape room is also pioneering new approaches in science communication. TUD cooperating with Technische Sammlungen Dresden has created an outstanding project with international appeal that arouses the curiosity of discovery across all ages and makes complex science tangible,” emphasized Professor Ursula M. Staudinger, Rector of TU Dresden, at the opening in Dresden.

“Dresden, a city of science, research and culture, has a new highlight – the Kitty Q Escape Room at the Technische Sammlungen science museum! This project entertainingly merges Dresden’s cultural heritage with the DRESDEN-concept Science and Innovation Campus. Olaf Schubert, a well-known Dresden voice, will also guide you through the quantum world," declared Annekatrin Klepsch, Mayor for Culture, Science and Tourism of Dresden.

Experience Science

“Dresden is the global capital of solid-state physics. We want to spark curiosity in the fascinating aspects of the pure science topics that we research and show how much fun they are,” says Matthias Vojta, professor of theoretical solid-state physics at TU Dresden and ct.qmat’s Dresden spokesperson. “Traditionally, physics is often viewed as a challenging subject in schools, and notably, women are underrepresented in physics degree programs. To make physics and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) more accessible to youngsters – and especially to inspire girls – we’ve transformed a famous quantum physics thought experiment into a multisensory experience. By embracing modern gamification techniques, we ensure that learning happens in an engaging and subtle way. The best part? You don’t need to be a math or physics expert to enjoy the game!"

The Kitty Q Escape Room is based on ct.qmat’s mobile game Kitty Q – A Quantum Adventure, which has been downloaded over half a million times worldwide and won international awards. Kitty Q now boasts its very own German Wikipedia page! In the escape room, the digital game is brought to life in a real-world game environment. Once again, award-winning game designer Philipp Stollenmayer played a key role in crafting the look of the charming, enigmatic half-dead cat and her world: “I’m very proud that my digital game has made the leap into the real world! It was an incredible adventure to send Kitty Q into an escape room and to enable the complex, bizarre phenomena of the quantum world to be explored in a multisensory experience. I’m looking forward to seeing how the quantum apartment goes down with youngsters.”

Purrrrrrrrrrr ... Learning Playfully

“Complex research content can be challenging for the public to understand. That’s where we step in as Dresden’s science center. We aim to interest youngsters in science and technology and encourage them to tinker, try things out, experiment, and discover,” says Roland Schwarz, Director of Technische Sammlungen Dresden. “We translate scientific phenomena into captivating adventures. This approach has been adopted for Germany’s first quantum physics escape room for youngsters. We’re excited about the fantastic opening weekend ahead!”

Technische Sammlungen Dresden and the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat will celebrate the opening of the new Kitty Q Escape Room on Saturday and Sunday, April 27/28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of the quantum apartment during brief guided tours (hourly from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. over the weekend). Additionally, they can engage with the award-winning app Kitty Q – A Quantum Adventure, which inspired the escape room, in a designated gaming lounge. A special quantum cinema will continuously show all the episodes of ct.qmat’s video series QUANTube – Short Break Science throughout the weekend. On Sunday, Lea – one of the voices of the escape room – will conduct a jingle workshop in the recording studio at Technische Sammlungen (at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.). For bookings for the guided tours or jingle workshops, please contact the museum’s Visitor Service (phone: +49 351 4887272; service@museen-dresden.de).

Visiting Kitty Q

From Tuesday, April 30, 2024, the Kitty Q Escape Room will be open for regular visits at Technische Sammlungen Dresden (Junghansstrasse 1–3, 01277 Dresden). The escape room offers two fixed slots daily, available for group bookings ranging from 8 to 30 participants. These sessions are ideal for school parties (recommended for students aged 11 and above) and children’s birthday parties (ages 10+):

Tuesday to Friday: 9.30 and 11.00 a.m. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10.30 am and 12.00 noon

To book, please contact Visitor Service by calling +49 351 488 7272 (Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.) or writing to service@museen-dresden.de.

Outside these reserved times, the escape room is open to all museum visitors.

Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat

The Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter has been jointly run by the University of Würzburg (JMU) and Technische Universität (TU) Dresden since 2019. Over 300 scientists from more than thirty countries and four continents study topological quantum materials that reveal surprising phenomena under extreme conditions such as ultra-low temperatures, high pressure, or strong magnetic fields. ct.qmat is funded through the German Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments and is the only Cluster of Excellence in Germany to be based in two different federal states.

More information

Visit the quantum apartment: schule.katzeq.app

Stroke the quantum cat: katzeq.app

Katze Q in Wikipedia (only in German): de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katze_Q

Contact

Katja Lesser, Pressesprecherin Exzellenzcluster ct.qmat, Tel. +49 (0)179 1431210, katja.lesser@tu-dresden.de

By Katja Lesser

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