The three winners will share an amount of approximately R$ 4.631 million for the Nobel Prize in Physics.AFP
Published on April 10, 2022 at 1:38 p.m
Stockholm – The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded on Tuesday, the 4th, to Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger, three scientists who pioneered the revolutionary mechanisms of quantum physics.
The trio was awarded for their discoveries about “quantum entanglement”, a mechanism in which two quantum particles are perfectly connected, regardless of the distance between them, the jury said in a statement.
The discovery of this astonishing property paved the way for new technologies for quantum computing and ultra-secure communications, as well as ultra-sensitive quantum sensors that would enable extremely precise measurements, such as gravity in space.
This perplexing mechanics was predicted by quantum theory. But Albert Einstein didn’t believe it either: two particles joined from the beginning – as twins might be – can retain the stamp of a shared past and behave in a coordinated manner at a distance.
Each of the winners “performed groundbreaking experiments using entangled quantum states, in which two particles behave as a unit even when separated,” the Nobel committee said.
“It is increasingly clear that a new kind of quantum technology is emerging,” Anders Irback, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, said in a statement.
Aspect Clauser and Zeilinger, who jointly won the prestigious Wolf Prize in 2010, were recognized for advancing the work of John Stewart Bell, who in the 1960s developed the mathematical inequality that bears his name. Zeilinger, a 77-year-old professor of physics at the University of Vienna, said he did not expect to be awarded.
“I was very surprised when I got the call,” Zeilinger said by phone during the news conference.
The Austrian scientist was recognized for his work on “quantum teleportation, which makes it possible to move a quantum state from one particle to another over a distance,” the jury said.
“It’s not like the ‘Star Trek’ movies or anything,” Zeilinger said. “But the point is that by using entanglement, you can transfer all the information carried by the object to some other place where the object is reconstituted,” he explained.
Aspect, a 75-year-old associate professor at the University of Paris-Saclay, expressed pride at being associated with physics giants such as Einstein, who he gave “part of the credit” for the discovery of entanglement.
Quantum mechanics is a counterintuitive science that describes the world on an extremely small scale, where things can simultaneously exist, not exist, and be somewhere in between.
Tech giants like Google are mobilizing large numbers of researchers to create the next generation of so-called “quantum computers,” whose computing power should make it possible to solve problems that would otherwise be impossible to solve.
“The first quantum revolution gave us transistors, semiconductors, computers and lasers,” Mohamed Bourennane, professor of quantum computing at Stockholm University, told AFP.
“But the other, based on superposition and entanglement, will allow us in the future quantum computers or quantum inscriptions useful for obtaining images or sensors,” he added.
The three winners, who will share the sum of 10 million Swedish kronor, will receive the prize from the hands of King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of the scientist Alfred Nobel, who created the prize in his will.
Last year, the Swedish Academy awarded Syukuro Manabe, an American of Japanese origin, and Klaus Hasselmann, a German, for their work on physical models of climate change, as well as Italian Giorgio Parisi for his work on the interaction of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems.
Only four women have won the Nobel Prize in Physics, established in 1901: Marie Curie (1903), Maria Goeppert Mayer (1963), Donna Strickland (2018) and Andrea Ghez (2020).