The Nobel Prize in physics for 2022 has been awarded to three scientists for their contributions to the field of quantum mechanics. The prize was awarded
We are all subject to quantum rules that even Albert Einstein struggled to come to terms with. For the most part, these rules play out behind the scenes in transistors that make up computer chips, lasers and even in the chemistry of atoms and molecules in materials all around us. Applications that stem from this year’s Nobel prize take advantage of quantum features at larger scales. They include absolutely secure communications and quantum computers that may eventually solve problems that no conceivable conventional computer could complete in the lifetime of the universe.
This year's Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Alain Aspect, John Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger "for groundbreaking experimental work that confirms the strange and seemingly contradictory predictions of quantum theory." Quantum theory is the branch of physics that describes the behavior of matter and energy at the atomic and subatomic levels. It is a theory of the very small, and as such,
In quantum mechanics, particles such as electrons can be in more than one state at a time. This means that they can be both here and there, or both spin up and spin down, for example. However, when they are measured, they always have just one value. This strange behavior was first observed in the early 1900s in experiments on radioactivity. The physicists who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics
It is certainly exciting to learn about the three laureates, Aspect, Zeilinger, and Clauser. As a physicist, Jerry Chow of IBM Quantum in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. is very familiar with their work. He states, "They're all very, very well known in our quantum community
In a new study, researchers have shown that there is no mysterious quantum force that allows particles to remain connected across vast distances. The findings suggest that quantum mechanics, the branch of physics that governs the behavior of subatomic particles, is not as bizarre as it may seem.
The experiments of Zeilinger, of the University of Vienna, that rely on quantum behavior include demonstrations of communications, absolutely secure encryption and components crucial for quantum computers. He pioneered another, widely misunderstood, application — quantum teleportation. Unlike the teleportation of people and objects in science fiction, the effect involves the perfect transmission of information about a quantum object from one place to
I was always interested in quantum mechanics from the very first moments when I read about it,” Zeilinger said via phone at the news conference announcing the award. “I was actually struck by some of the theoretical predictions, because they did not fit the usual intuitions which one
The discovery of quantum behavior that rules the world at small scales, like the motion of an electron around an atom, revolutionized physics at the beginning of the 20th century. Many leading scientists, most famously including Einstein, acknowledged that quantum theories worked, but argued that they couldn’t be the true description of the world because they involved, at best, calculating the probabilities that something would happen. To Einstein, this meant that there was some hidden information that experiments
In the 1960s, physicist John Bell proposed a test to prove that there were no hidden channels of communication among quantum objects. This test, which came to be known as the Bell test, was based on the assumption that if quantum objects behaved weirdly, they were doing so for a reason. The Bell test was designed to show that there were no hidden channels of communication among quantum
Clauser's early interest in science led him to compete in the National Science Fair in 1959 and 1960, now known as the International Science and Engineering Fair. His experiment in 1960 confirmed Bell's test, although there remained loopholes that his experiment couldn't check, leaving room for doubt.
Aspect and his colleagues realized that they could use this effect to explore the consequences of quantum mechanics. In particular, they could test whether quantum mechanics is truly a non-local theory. To do this, they set up an experiment in which the photons were sent in opposite directions. If quantum mechanics is non-local, then the measurement of one photon should instantaneously reveal the characteristics of the other, no matter how far apart they are.
Entanglement is a delicate state of affairs that is difficult to maintain. The results of the experiments of Clauser and Aspect show that quantum effects cannot be explained with any hidden variables that would be signs of non-quantum underp
Chow's research is significant for two reasons. First, it provides evidence that quantum mechanics is real. Second, it demonstrates that quantum mechanics can be used to develop new technologies, such as quantum computers and communication systems.
In his experiments, Zeilinger takes advantage of a phenomenon called entanglement to achieve feats that would not be possible without the effects that Clauser and Aspect confirmed. He has extended the experiments from the lab to intercontinental distances, opening up the possibility that entanglement can be put to practical use (SN: 5/31/12). Because interacting with one of a pair of entangled particles affects the other, they can become key components in secure communications and encryption. An outsider trying to listen
Quantum computers that rely on entangled particles have also become a topic of active research. Instead of the ones and zeros of conventional computers, quantum computers encode information in a way that is a blend of both one and zero. In theory, they can perform some calculations that no digital computer could ever match. Zeilinger's quantum teleportation experiments offer a route to transfer the information that such quantum computers rely
This award is a very nice and positive surprise to me,” says Nicolas Gisin, a physicist at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. “I am very grateful to the Nobel Committee for this prize, which is very well-deserved. Most of that work was done in the [1970s and 1980s], but the Nobel
Gisin says the race to build a working quantum computer is heating up. “There are definitely more than 10 groups worldwide that are active in this field and that are trying to build a quantum computer,” he says. The race to build a working quantum computer is heating up, with more than 10 groups worldwide
Quantum mechanics is the branch of physics that studies the behavior of matter and energy in the presence of an observer. It is the foundation of modern physics and the theory of the wave-particle duality. The wave-particle duality is the concept that matter and energy can exist as both waves and particles. This strange implication of
Maria Temming is a highly skilled journalist who has contributed reporting to this story