Cover of Lost Summers

New graphic novel merges arts and science

Thursday 12 Aug 21


"Tabte somre" has been published by the Danish publisher Fahrenheit and it can be purchased from their website


In bigQ we are very enthusiastic about outreach and about communicating our research and quantum physics in general to the broader audience. And we are very pleased to have along-standing collaboration with Danish artist and writer Jan Egesborg. After 5 years in the making, the collaboration with Jan has resulted in the new graphic novel "Lost summers" that was released in Denmark today. 

“Lost summers” (Danish title: Tabte somre) is a thriller set in Brussels 1927, the time and placeof the famous fifth Solvay Conference and the culmination of the equally famous debate between physicists Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, on the new theory of quantum mechanics. And it is exactly the contrasting views on the reality of Nature of those two exceptional minds that is the underlying theme of the story. However, in this artistic interpretation the seminal scientific debate of Bohr an Einstein is cast in the form of a thriller. And the discussion is not one on the abstract interpretation of physical reality at the quantum level, but rather one concerning life and death between two intelligence service agents.

The main characters of “Lost summers” are the two British intelligence agents, Andrew and William, who have been assigned the mission to prevent a putative assassination attempt on Bohr and Einstein. The intelligence agency has reasons to believe that the rising German Nazi party is planning an assassination of the two world-leading scientists during the Solvay Conference, but the intelligence is sparse. Andrew and William’s mission is to observe, gather evidence, and ultimately eliminate the suspect if they find the evidence sufficient. But how incriminating and unambiguous must the evidence be and how certain do you have to be to justify killing another person? Is the world ultimately deterministic or are the underlying mechanisms chance and probability? Despite sharing the same professional niche, Andrew and William have very different personalities. They share a common patriotism, but it is routed in very different mindsets and personal backgrounds, all of which is gradually revealed through their internal discussions and arguments about the justification of a killing, politics, and not least French fries.

“Lost summers” is historical fiction in the format of a graphic novel and incorporating elements of quantum physics. It is up to the reader what to get from the story - on the surface, it is a classical entertaining thriller, but through the agents’ discussions one may also gain an appreciation of one of the most significant scientific discussions of the last century. On the illustration side, careful attention is paid to details to picture a setting as close as possible to Brussels 1927 and to create an atmosphere that supports and complements the storytelling. This creative combination of facts, fiction, and format is a novel way of presenting science and making it accessible to the broader audience. It is the result of an unusual and close collaboration between physics and arts.
18 APRIL 2024