Monday, Nov 28, 2022

Three Scientists Win Physics Nobel For Experiments in Quantum Mechanics

Their award-winning theory on entangled quantum states proves that two particles can behave like a single unit even when these are separated.

(From left) Alain Aspect, John F Clauser and Anton Zeilinger.
(From left) Alain Aspect, John F Clauser and Anton Zeilinger. Twitter/NobelPrize

John Clauser, Alain Aspect, and Anton Zeilinger will receive the coveted Physics Nobel for their ground-breaking research on entangled quantum states, which proves that two particles can behave like a single unit even when these are separated.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences made this announcement on October 4. The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics is an acknowledgment “for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities, and pioneering quantum information science,” the academy said. “Being able to manipulate and manage quantum states and all their layers of properties gives us access to tools with unexpected potential,” it added.

Clauser built 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. Aspect developed a setup to close 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.

Zeilinger researched onentangled quantum states. His research group has demonstrated a ‘quantum teleportation phenomenon’, which makes it possible to move a quantum state from one particle to one at a distance.

Intense research and development are underway to utilise the special properties of individual particle systems to construct quantum computers, improve measurements, build quantum networks and establish secure quantum encrypted communication, it added.

The physics prize is followed by chemistry on Wednesday, with the literature and peace prizes announced on Thursday and Friday respectively.

Swedish paleogeneticist Svante Paabo, who found that gene transfer had occurred from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens following the migration out of Africa around 70,000 years ago, won the Nobel Medicine Prize on Monday.