Three scientists win Nobel Prize for breakthrough in quantum physics


The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics to three scientists for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science.

The scientists included 75-year-old Alain Aspect of France, 80-year-old John Clauser of the United States and 77-year-old Anton Zeilinge of Austria.

In a statement on its website, organisers of the Nobel Prize said Aspect, Clauser and Zeilinger, conducted groundbreaking experiments using entangled quantum states, where two particles behaved like a single unit even when they were separated.

Their results cleared the way for new technology based on quantum information, the organisation said.

The statement read in part, “John Clauser developed John Bell’s ideas, leading to a practical experiment. When he took the measurements, they supported quantum mechanics by clearly violating a Bell inequality. This means that quantum mechanics cannot be replaced by a theory that uses hidden variables.

“Some loopholes remained after John Clauser’s experiment. Alain Aspect developed the setup, using it in a way that closed an important loophole. He was able to switch the measurement settings after an entangled pair had left its source, so the setting that existed when they were emitted could not affect the result.

“Using refined tools and long series of experiments, Anton Zeilinger started to use entangled quantum states. Among other things, his research group has demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum teleportation, which makes it possible to move a quantum state from one particle to one at a distance.”

Speaking about their work, the Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, Anders Irback, said, “It has become increasingly clear that a new kind of quantum technology is emerging. We can see that the laureates’ work with entangled states is of great importance, even beyond the fundamental questions about the interpretation of quantum mechanics.”

Aspect got his PhD from Paris-Sud University, Orsay, France, in 1983. He’s currently a Professor at Université Paris-Saclay and École Polytechnique, both in France.

Clauser, a research physicist at J.F. Clauser & Assoc., Walnut Creek, CA, USA, got his PhD from Columbia University, New York, USA, in 1969.

Zeilinger is a Professor at the University of Vienna, Austria, who bagged his PhD fromthe same university in 1971.

All three laureates will share the prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor.

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