The pioneering trio of quantum mechanics won the Nobel Prize for physics, science in the eyes of technological giants – 10.4.2022.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded this Tuesday (4) to the Frenchman Alain Aspect, the American John Clauser and the Austrian Anton Zeilinger for their discoveries in the field of quantum mechanics, a science that attracts large companies like Google to the development of new generations of computers. The results of the work “paved the way for new technologies”, the jury announced in a press release.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded this Tuesday (4) to the Frenchman Alain Aspect, the American John Clauser and the Austrian Anton Zeilinger for their discoveries in the field of quantum mechanics, a science that attracts large companies like Google to the development of new generations of computers. The results of the work “paved the way for new technologies”, the jury announced in a press release.

The trio was awarded for their pioneering work on “quantum entanglement”, a mechanism in which two quantum particles are perfectly correlated, regardless of the distance between them, the committee said. Aspect, 75, Clauser, 79, and Zeilinger, 77, were awarded “for their experiments with entangled photons, establishing violations of Bell’s inequalities and pioneering the path to quantum computing,” the jury said.

Each of the winners “performed groundbreaking experiments using entangled quantum states, in which two particles behave as a unit even when separated,” the statement said. Even the physicist Albert Einstein did not believe that two photons together could bear the mark of a shared past and behave similarly separately.

The findings of the award-winning researchers paved the way for new technologies in quantum computing and communications security, as well as the improvement of ultra-sensitive quantum sensors that enable extremely precise measurements, such as gravity in space.

“It’s not like Star Trek”

“I was surprised when I received the call [do júri]” said Zeilinger of the University of Vienna, Austria, during a conference announcing the awards in Sweden. Despite the name “quantum teleportation,” used for the particle entanglement mechanism, “it’s not like Star Trek,” the researcher joked, referring to to the famous science fiction series.

On the other hand, the Austrian explained that with the technique “we can transfer all the information given by an object to another place where that object can be reconstructed”. “With this surprising capacity, we are able to transmit information without even realizing it,” he pointed out.

A new generation of “quantum computers”

Quantum mechanics is a counterintuitive science that describes the world on an infinitesimally small scale, where existence can be simultaneous, nonexistent, or between these two fields. Proof of the great interest that exists in research in this area are technological giants such as Google, which are currently mobilizing a large number of researchers to develop a new generation of “quantum computers”. They won’t look anything like the smartphones and laptops used today, but their computing power should make it possible to solve extremely complex or impossible problems.

Aspect, Clauser and Zeilinger have already received the prestigious Wolf Prize for Physics in 2010. In work that became famous in the sector, the French researcher managed to entangle two photons 12 meters apart for the first time, in 1981. de Clauser started in the 1960s, while Zeilinger made important progress in the field in the 1990s.

The trio will split the sum of 10 million Swedish kroner ($901,500) and receive the prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the death of scientist Alfred Nobel in 1896, who created the prize in his will.

Last year, the Swedish Academy awarded the Japanese-American Syukuro Manabe and the German Klaus Hasselmann for their work on physical models of climate change, as well as the Italian Giorgio Parisi for researching the interaction of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems.

(With information from AFP)

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