N Square Collaborative

"Manhattan Project" for the New Age to Dismantle Nuclear Threat

Security collaborative brings first-ever cross-sector pop-up lab to entrepreneurial hub 1871 with interactive exhibit, hackathon and arcade

Kicking off a “Manhattan Project” for the new age, innovation hub N Square is bringing its Nuclear Pop-Up! lab to Chicago this week. Through a series of exhibits, game jams, workshops and prizes, The Nuclear Pop-Up! lab will provide a forum for Chicago innovators to explore solutions to challenges relating to nuclear disarmament, the spread of weapons-grade materials, and ensuring that existing arsenals can’t be hidden, hacked or deployed accidentally. Participants will include innovators at the nexus of tech and gaming, education, business, science, media and the arts.

N Square is a security collaborative designed to foster innovation, ignite the public imagination and spark new ideas about how to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons. It is the product of a joint funding initiative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ploughshares Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund.

Chicago is the first stop for N Square’s Nuclear Pop Up! lab, as it visits select cities around the country in advance of 2016’s Nuclear Security Summit. The Pop-Up! represents a unique cross-sector collaboration to forge new ground and foster innovation around nuclear weapons risk in the face of increasing volatility, as security experts warn of a near 1 in 3 chance of a nuclear detonation in the next ten years. The lab is being held in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Participants in the Games Jam stand to win $10K for the best game prototype.

Games for Change will be hosting a five-day games arcade at the Chicago Nuclear Pop-Up! lab. N Square has teamed up with Games for Change to ask global innovators and creative thinkers to come up with a game concept that engages and educates players about the dynamics of nuclear weapons risk. The competition—featuring a $10,000 grand prize—was unveiled last month at the annual PopTech conference in Camden, Maine. Submissions will be accepted through November 22.

“The threat posed by nuclear materials may be greater now than ever before,” said Erika Gregory, executive director of N Square. “Security experts warn of a near one-in-three chance of a nuclear event in the next ten years. With the game challenge, we hope to spark new thinking and engagement to cut the risks associated with nuclear weapons and fissile materials.”



Nuclear Risk Game Jam

November 14th-15th (Sat - Sun), 10am – 9pm

1871 Auditorium. 1871 is "Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups."

222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212, Chicago

Participants have 48 hours to create a game for social impact specifically addressing nuclear weapons disarmament. Teams will collaborate on conceptualizing, designing and protoyping their game experience, concluding with pitch presentation by participating teams. The winning game will be entered to win the $10K grand prize in the Games for Change N Square Design Challenge.


Games for Change Games Arcade. Games for Change is a non-profit working to catalyze social impact through digital games.

November 13th – 17th (Fri-Tues), 10am – 5pm

1871 Auditorium.

222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212, Chicago

4-day arcade showcase featuring games and interactive experiences touching on nuclear safety and disarmament. Participants will engage with social impact games, cutting-edge virtual reality environments and curated examples of how nuclear weapons currently show up in the games kids play.


Boldness and Opportunity: The N Square Exhibit

November 16th – 19th, 2015, 10am – 4pm

The William Eckhardt Research Center

5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago

Interactive installation that demonstrates what happens when diverse minds take on challenges relating to nuclear disarmament. Boldness and Opportunity helps new audiences discover meaningful ways to engage with this global threat.   


N Square is the brainchild of the largest peace and security funders in the U.S., designed to foster collaboration, ignite the public imagination and spark new ideas about how to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons. To attend any of the events above or to enquire about interview opportunities, please contact Sage Welch at 415.453.0430 or sage@catercommunications.com