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Eleanor Wong: Writer in Residence, 2014

Eleanor Wong

Eleanor Wong was Writer in Residence at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) from September to December 2014. She was awarded the residency following an open call to Singapore writers for proposals drawing inspiration from the Centre's research. See the call for the 2014 Quantum Immersion residency here.

About Eleanor

Eleanor, a published playwright and poet, has pursued parallel careers in law and media. Her plays have been produced in Singapore and regionally. Learn more from her bio on Wikipedia.

About the residency

Eleanor submitted a proposal to write scenes for a piece of musical theatre. As currently envisioned "Terms and Conditions" will be a meditation on love and relationships in a changing world. Eleanor hopes to draw inspiration from ideas and themes in the quantum world to inform and illumine "ordinary life".

During her Quantum Immersion, Eleanor delved into the fundamental concepts and tools of quantum physics through discussions with CQT researchers, visits to the Centre's laboratories and by attending talks. She and CQT researchers described their experiences of this process in a panel discussion in January 2015.

Eleanor collaborated with Singapore theatre company Cake, helmed by Artistic Director Natalie Hennedige, to present a rehearsed reading of scenes written during the residency. This work had the title "Initial Conditions". Supported by CQT and Centre 42, Initial Conditions was staged on 13 and 14 March 2015 by performers Jo Kukathas and Sean Tobin (read more).

Poster image for Initial Conditions

Here is a reaction to Initial Conditions from theatre writer Corrie Tan, a reporter for Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, which she posted to Twitter:

Initial Conditions marked the conclusion of the residency but Eleanor will continue work on the play, aiming for a production of the complete new work in 2016.

Some of Eleanor's interactions at CQT also inspired her to write poetry. She has kindly agreed we can share the poem below, which took root from a scientific colloquium given by Bill Phillips of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. He won a share of the Nobel prize in physics in 1997 for his development of techniques to trap and cool atoms to near absolute zero. His colloquium at CQT on 7 November 2014 was titled "An atomic superfluid Bose-Einstein condensate in a ring".

"colloquium"

the nobel laureate's in town
to talk of how
you put a ring on it
round the centre
the air swirls
with excitation
a current of superfluid
persisting a minute beyond
simple times of flight
is supercool
coming from the father
of the cold atom
unexpectedly funny and warm
holds us all
trapped in optical thrall