– The prize was awarded to a Franco-Austro-American trio from the world of quantum
Alain Aspect, John Glaser and Anton Zeilinger are credited with the discovery of “quantum entanglement”.
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded on Tuesday to Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John Glaser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger, pioneers of the revolutionary methods of quantum physics.
The trio of septuagenarians are being rewarded for their discoveries of “quantum entanglement,” the phenomenon in which two quantum particles are perfectly related to each other, regardless of the distance separating them, the Nobel jury declared.
Demonstration of this property has paved the way for new technologies in quantum computing and ultra-secure communications, or ultra-sensitive quantum sensors that allow extremely precise measurements such as gravity in space.
This dynamic is predicted by quantum theory. Yet even Einstein, who first raised the problem in 1935, was not convinced, calling the problem “spinal-chilling motion at a distance.”
“I’m very impressed”
Alain Aspecht called on the international scientific community to remain united “when the world is not going well and nationalism is taking hold in many countries”. He also said he was proud to join the ranks of physics’ greatest names, such as Albert Einstein, acknowledging the latter’s “part of the credit” for discovering the problem.
“All these big names… Of course, I was very impressed, because I was certainly not at the level of these people who completely changed the physical sciences. But I’m definitely proud to be on the same list!” explained the 75-year-old professor attached to the University of Paris-Saclay and the highly prestigious Ecole polytechnique.
“Einstein himself did not believe in quantum entanglement! The promises of quantum computing are now based on this phenomenon,” French President Emmanuel Macron responded on Twitter.
Although the name “quantum teleportation” is used for the mechanism in question, “it’s not like in Star Trek,” the teleportation of objects or multiple people, Anton Zeilinger, 77, joined the jury by phone.
Quantum mechanics is a counterintuitive science that describes the world at an infinitely small scale, where things can simultaneously exist, not exist, and exist somewhere in between. Based on this science, giants of the global economy such as Google are now recruiting researchers to design the next generation of computationally powerful, so-called “quantum” computers.
“The first quantum revolution gave us transistors, semiconductors, computers and lasers,” Mohamed Pourannen, professor of quantum computing at Stockholm University, told AFP. “But the second, based on superposition and entanglement, could be useful for future quantum computers or quantum inscriptions for imaging or sensors”.
Aspect, Clauser and Zeilinger won the prestigious Wolf Prize in 2010, awarded for their experiments “for entangled photons, establishing violations of Bell’s inequalities and paving a pioneering path to quantum computing,” according to the official motivation. Nobel Jury.
In 1981, the Aline Aspect succeeded in trapping two photons for the first time at a distance of 12 meters. Glaser’s work began in the 1960s, while Zeilinger has fed the field since the ’90s, says Clarivate. A company specializing in the prediction of Nobel scientists.
A reward of nearly a million francs
The prize is awarded with 10 million Swedish crowns (approximately 920,000 euros) in each category, which will be shared at the co-winners event.
The award for quantum mechanics has been around for years, and today’s winners are among the favorites to win in the field.