Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to three quantum information scientists
Stockholm, Sweden - Efforts in "pioneering quantum information science" netted the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for three scientists working on advanced theories that had been pondered by scientists like Albert Einstein for decades.
Alain Aspect (75) of France, John F. Clauser (79) and Anton Zeilinger (77) can now call themselves Nobel Prize winners.
According to the Nobel Academy, their work focused on "entangled quantum states, where two particles behave like a single unit even when they are separated. Their results have cleared the way for new technology based upon quantum information."
Quantum science promises to open up whole areas of new applications for computers, in everything from enhanced encryption to the ability to crunch massive amounts of numbers faster than any modern computer.
Aspect is a professor at the Université Paris-Saclay and École Polytechnique in France, Clauser is a research physicist at JF Clauser and Associates, and Zeilinger is a professor at the University of Vienna.
While their credentials and expertise are impressive, where they came from is even more fascinating.
The journey to winning the Nobel Prize
Clauser has in the past described how when still at school he would spend time in the laboratory of his father, an aeronautical engineer.
"I was supposed to be doing my homework, but most of the time I was just wandering around admiring the advanced equipment," he said.
With his father's support, Clauser was destined for science, studying physics at the California Institute of Technology and going on to Columbia University in New York.
He has also worked at the University of California in Berkeley and independently as a consultant and inventor, publishing prolifically and receiving a number of awards, including the Wolf Prize in Physics along with Aspect and Zeilinger.
Zeilinger said that he was dumbfounded when he was told by phone of his award. "I'm still somehow shocked," he said on Tuesday when he was connected to the official announcement in Stockholm after the Nobel Academy informed him more than an hour beforehand.
"This prize is an encouragement for young people," he said afterwards.
Aspect is credited with refining Clauser's experimental measurements, clearing away existing doubts about the theory.
Aspect, Clauser, and Zeilinger have now cemented their well deserved place in history.
Cover photo: Collage: Alain JOCARD v AFP & Remi Vorano / AFP & JOE KLAMAR / AFP