How This Year's Nobel Laureates In Physics Laid Out A 'New Era In Quantum Tech'

Each of the Nobel Prizes comprises a gold medal, a diploma and a cash prize of 10 million kronor (nearly $900,000).

3 min read

The Nobel Prize in Physics for the year 2022 was, on Tuesday, 4 October, awarded to Alain Aspect, John F Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger.

They received the prize for "experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violations of Bell inequalities, and pioneering quantum information science," Hans Ellegren, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced.  

The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden.

Aspect, from the University of Paris-Saclay, Clauser from J.F. Clauser & Assoc. in California, US, and Zeilinger from the University of Vienna, created "groundbreaking experiments using entangled quantum states."

An entangled state, in quantum mechanics, is when two particles behave like a single unit even when they are separated. In other words, what happens to one of the particles in an entangled pair determines what happens to the other, even if they are far apart.

The scientists' work has laid out the foundation of a "new era of quantum technology".

Quantum mechanics is now starting to find applications through quantum computers and secure quantum encrypted communication.

“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,” said Anders Irback, Chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics.


The Laureates' Life and Work

Anton Zeilinger was born on 20 May 1945 in Austria, and received his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1971. He is a quantum physicist, known for his research in quantum entanglement, quantum interferometry and quantum information, with special focus on novel entangled states and their applications in quantum communication and quantum computation.

Zeilinger's research group has demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum teleportation, wherein it is possible to move a quantum state (an entangled pair of photons in this case) from one particle to another at a distance.

Alain Aspect was born on 15 June 1947 in Agen, France and his known for his work on some intriguing properties of quantum mechanics. According to the The Royal Society, Aspect's Bell's inequalities tests with pairs of entangled photons (1982) have contributed to settle a debate between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, started in 1935.

He has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics this year for developing an experiment which allowed exciting atoms in a new way so that they could emit entangled photons at a higher rate. He even allowed switching between different settings so that the end result would not be affected by any advance information fed into the system.

John Clauser was born on 1 December 1942 in Pasadena, California. He is an experimental and theoretical physicist, known for his contribution to the foundations of quantum mechanics.

He was awarded for building an apparatus that emitted two entangled photons at a time, each towards a filter that tested their polarisation. The result was a clear violation of a Bell inequality and agreed with the predictions of quantum mechanics.

Last year, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Syukuro Manabe, Klaus HasselMann and Georgio Parisi for laying the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how human activity influences it.

They also revolutionised the theory of disordered materials and random processes.

Who Created the Nobel Prizes?

The prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace were established by the will of Alfred Nobel. He was a Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist who had invented the dynamite and other powerful explosives.

In November 1895, Nobel signed his last will and testament, and bequeathed the largest share of his fortune to establish the Nobel Prizes. The first awards were handed out in 1901, five years after Nobel’s death.

Each of the Nobel Prizes comprises a gold medal, a diploma and a cash prize worth 10 million kronor (nearly $900,000).

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