For the best short story, short film, or other media submission. Submissions due by June 1, 2015. Submit your Story
Answer the Question
What would the world be like if the Normal Curve had never been discovered?

Open to All Types of Storytellers

Whether you are the next George Lucas, James Cameron, or more prone to prose, we know that you might have a story worth sharing. Enter into the category which best suits your work.

Team submissions are allowed (and encouraged)!

Taming of Chance Story Competition

Short Story Submission

All entries are eligible for the $1500 youth prize pool and the $2000 grand prize, subject to terms and conditions.

There are a lot of options for posting your story. A link to a Tumblr or blog post works fine.

Another really good option is Wattpad, an online community of writers and fiction fans. Wattpad has features which will allow your story to continue to live long after this competition is over and even take on a life of its own.

Be sure to use #WithoutTheCurve to tag your story!

Taming of Chance Story Competition

Short Film Submission

Submit your Movie

All entries are eligible for the $1500 youth prize pool and the $2000 grand prize, subject to terms and conditions.

Looking for a place to put your movie? A great alternative to Youtube is Vimeo, an online hub for independent film-makers.

Entrants must be prepared to submit a photography and film consent form for each recognizable person. Videos that display images of people other than that of the Entrant must provide a release signed by the subject, and if under 18 years of age, also by the guardian of the subject.

Entrants cannot use copyrighted music in their work without the permission of the original artist. Entrants who obtain copyrights to music must be able to present documentation from the artist upon request.

Be sure to use #WithoutTheCurve to tag your story!

Taming of Chance Story Competition

Creative Work Submission

All entries are eligible for the $1500 youth prize pool and the $2000 grand prize, subject to terms and conditions.

We accept several forms of creative work such as posters, comic books, and music.

You may use a public service such as Imgur to submit your work.

You must be able to provide images in a standard format file (PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG or TIFF) with print quality (at 300dpi & in CMYK formatting) to be eligigble for the prize.

Be sure to use #WithoutTheCurve to tag your story!

The Normal Curve?

People first started talking about the Normal Distribution nearly 300 years ago. The scientific community used their understanding of the Normal Curve to model and give meaning to the results of their experiments.

Today, we owe much of our modern technology and modern world to the discoveries made possible by the Normal Curve. Could you imagine your life without a cellphone, or without the Internet? Could you imagine a world without safe cars? Could you imagine a world without vaccines, or a world where the medicine is as dangerous as the disease?

This story competition asks you to tell a story that happens in this alternative reality, where the Normal Curve had not been discovered. What if the Normal Curve was a secret? Would those who held it use it for good or evil? Let your imagination run wild in a world where chance was yet to be tamed! (see The Taming of Chance, by Ian Hacking for more information, and to get a glimpse into the inspiration for this competition)

The Ubiquitous Bell Curve, by John Mighton

What is clear, beyond all scholasticism is this:

The taming of chance and the erosion of determinism constitute one of the most revolutionary changes in the history of the human mind. I use the word ‘revolutionary’ not as a scholar but as a speaker of common English. If that change is not revolutionary, nothing is. That is the real justification for talk of a Probabilistic Revolution 1800-1930.

Hacking, Ian. (Author of "The Taming of Chance") “Was There a Probabilistic Revolution 1800-1930?”, in Kruger, L. et al eds. The Probabilistic Revolution: Volume 1, Ideas in History, MIT Press 1987, p. 54.

Terms & Conditions


The competition will be administered by the the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences' MathEd Forum in partnership with Vretta Inc., a Toronto-based educational media studio.


The Grand Prize consists of a single $2000 CAD prize, awarded to the best story at the end of the competition, regardless of age.

The Youth Prize consists of 3 awards of $500 CAD ($1500 total). Winners will be selected according to posted competition deadlines. The youth prize is for all entrants below the age of 26. Winners of the Youth Prize are also eligible for the Grand Prize.

The primary contact (whose email is provided in the submission form) of the winning group will be contacted and receive the full prize mount. The organizing committee, judges, and sponsors take no responsibility for the distribution of prize winnings among the group, nor for the resolution of any related dispute which may arise.

Winners will be highlighted on the contest websites and communications and via interviews. Honorable mentions/runners-up will be highlighted on the Fields Institute website and other publications.

Winners & Selection Process:

All entries will be reviewed by the selection committee and a final judging panel will use the initial scores to identify the winners and honorable mentions.

The selection process will emphasize the story's (1) insightfulness, (2) cultural impact, as well as (3) the story's ability to draw attention to the competition question ("What would the world be like if the normal curve had not been discovered"). Participants are encouraged to post their work on public platforms such as Youtube, Wattpad, Tumblr, and Twitter that allow for viewing, sharing, liking, and remixing of their story. This will help to promote the cultural impact of the work, which is a key criteria in the selection of the prize-winners. The selection committee will be looking at factors such as Likes, Views, Tweets, Comments and Favorites in their determination of cultural impact of the work.


Group submissions are permitted. There is no limit on team size. The first name listed in the group will be deemed to be the group leader and in the case of a prize winning, would be the recipient of the cash prize.

Submissions by minors should include an adult (such as a teacher). If this adult did not significantly contribute to the work, they can be deemed a non-participating member of the group so that the submission qualifies for the Youth Prize.

Participants and groups are encouraged to submit only quality entries. If an entrant submits multiple entries, the selection committee may decide to review only a portion of a participant or group that has submitted several entries.

Non-English submissions must be accompanied by a translated transcript for consideration.


All participants who are legally permitted to participate in this competition are welcome to participate. Minors must provide contact information for an adult (such as a parent or teacher) to which the prize will be sent.

To qualify for the Youth Prize, all participants in the group (excluding non-participating adults) must be under the age of 26 years. Entrants who fall outside of this age bracket still qualify for the Grand Prize.

Employees, officers and representatives (and members of their immediate families and those living in the same household of each) of Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, or Vretta, their parents, subsidiaries and affiliated companies, advertising and promotion agencies and any company involved in the design, execution, production or judging of this promotion (“contest entities”) are ineligible. Void where prohibited.

Terms and Conditions:

By submitting an entry, you agree to irrevocably license your Work under Creative Commons Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/). This allows any individual, company, or organization to copy, distribute and transmit your work, create derivative works, or make commercial use of your work. You will retain the right to receive clear attribution in all such uses. You will also retain the right to create derivative works using the plot or characters in your story, and licensing such works under more restrictive terms.

By submitting an entry, you are stating the work is an original creation and that all contributors to the work have been willing participants. You agree that you have, within the best of your ability, ensured that your work does not contain any material that infringes other copyrights (for example, by using music or images from copyright protected works).

The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences is under no obligation to publish or display your work.

The Taming of Chance Story Competition
is proudly supported by

Thanks to Ian Hacking for his inspirational writing in "The Taming of Chance"

Special thanks to our individual contributors

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