Nobel Prize in Physics rewards ‘spooky science’

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Image Source: Physics World

The discipline that explains nature at the tiniest scales, quantum mechanics, is honored with this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Alain Aspect, John Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger, all of Austria, receive the honor.

Their efforts should pave the way for a new wave of potent, impenetrable telecommunications networks and computers. Each man will receive 10 million Swedish krona ($800,000) as their prize.

The three prizewinners this year performed revolutionary research with entangled quantum states, in which two subatomic particles act as a single entity even when they are separated.

Eva Olsson, a Nobel Committee for Physics member, said, “quantum information science is a vibrant and quickly emerging discipline.”

Alain Aspect, 75, is a member of the École Polytechnique, Palaiseau and the University Paris-Saclay. Californian entrepreneur John Clauser, 79, has his own business. Finally, 77-year-old Anton Zeilinger works for the University of Vienna.

Early in the morning, Anton Zeilinger received a call to announce his victory. He admitted I’m still a little stunned, but it’s a really good shock.

Quantum mechanics describes the actions of subatomic particles. The early 20th century saw the opening of this field. Additionally, the winners of the prize on Tuesday excelled in a particular field of this discipline.

It is about a phenomenon known as “entanglement,” in which two or more quantum particles, often photons, the particles of light, can be tightly connected even when they are physically unconnected when they are very far apart.

Their energy or spin may be in a common condition. Albert Einstein described it as a bizarre occurrence as “spooky action at a distance.”

The theoretical foundation was created by Northern Irish physicist John Stewart Bell in the 1960s. However, Aspect, Clauser, and Zeilinger later carried out the experiments to demonstrate that the phenomena were real and had potential applications.

There are now two entanglement research areas that are receiving a lot of attention. One is in quantum computers, which promise to significantly improve our capacity for solving challenging issues. The other is in encryption, which is the safe encoding of data. This will make it impossible for a third party to eavesdrop on private communications by utilizing entanglement.

Prof. Tim Spiller of York University in the UK commented that Tuesday’s laureates were deserving winners who had contributed to creating an exciting future.

Three scientists who improved our understanding of complex systems, particularly the Earth’s climate, shared the 2021 Physics Nobel Prize.

Svante Paabo of Sweden received the Physiology or Medicine prize from the Nobel committee on Monday in recognition of his research on human evolution.

Read Also: Pritzker Prize 2022: Meet Francis Kere, the first African to win Nobel Prize for Architecture 

Previous winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics

2021 – Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, and Giorgio Parisi received the award for improving our comprehension of intricate processes like the climate of the Earth.

2020 – Sir Roger Penrose, Andrea Ghez, and Reinhard Genzel were awarded the prize for their research on the characteristics of black holes.

2019 – James Peebles, Didier Queloz, and Michel Mayor all received awards for their groundbreaking astronomical findings.

Donna Strickland, Arthur Ashkin, and Gerard Mourou received the honor in 2018 for their contributions to the science of lasers.

2017, Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish took the prize for gravitational wave detection.

2016 – For their research on uncommon phases of matter, David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Michael Kosterlitz each received a share of the prize.

2015 saw the awarding of the prize to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald for their discovery that neutrinos may transition between distinct “flavors.”