Otto Fong: Outreach Fellow, 2014–15
Otto Fong was an Outreach Fellow at CQT from September 2014 to February 2015 working on a comic book for kids featuring ideas from quantum physics. He was awarded the fellowship after he submitted a proposal in an open call to Singapore writers.
NEWS: "Sir Fong's Adventures in Science, Book 5: The Quantum Bunny" will be launched at the Singapore Writers Festival on 31 October. Find it in bookshops by the end of the year!
Otto Fong is a cartoonist and former science teacher. He has drawn and published a series of comic books for school children called Sir Fong's Adventures in Science. Aside from comic books, he has authored a new sci-fi horror-adventure series of novels for young people, Black Peony, and an adult horror novel Bitter Suites. He has also written for theatre. Explore his work here.
About the fellowship
Otto is creating a new installment in his series of Sir Fong science comics. The first four books feature Sir Fong, a teacher, explaining science to an unruly rabbit during a series of adventures. For the fifth book, the rabbit is heading off on its own to star in a quantum interpretation of the famous Chinese story "Journey to the West".
The existing Sir Fong books cover topics including atoms and molecules, light and cells, tying in with the school curriculum for 9-14 year olds. Quantum physics isn't taught at that age, and Otto doesn't aim to make his readers fully understand quantum ideas like superposition and entanglement. "What we can do is introduce the concepts as enjoyable, memorable entertainment. When the children grow older and have the capacity to grasp quantum mechanics, they will find the concepts welcoming, familiar as part of their childhood, and embrace rather than reject them," he says.
Over 15,000 copies of the first four Sir Fong books have been sold in local schools. "If getting quantum mechanics to the young masses is what CQT seeks, I'm your artist" says Otto.
Journey to the West is a story of a pilgrimage featuring gods and disciples that battle. The rabbit from the Sir Fong series will take the role of the Monkey King. Having quantum properties will make the rabbit a force to be reckoned with for the gods, recast as famous physicists from the history of quantum mechanics.
Otto has kindly agreed to share a few early sketches, shown above. These are designs for the rabbit, named Qbit, and two of the god/physicist characters.
The comic will be available in 2015. Check back here or on Otto's website for updates at www.ottoniumcomics.com.