Nobel committee honors experiments establishing quantum entanglement, quantum information science
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2022 — The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger “for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science.”
“Quantum mechanics runs counter to many of the day-to-day ways we perceive the world around us. Nonetheless, experiment after experiment over the years — notably the experiments by today’s laureates — have demonstrated not just the foundational applicability of the theory, but its tremendous power,” said AIP CEO Michael Moloney. “Perhaps the most transformational application will be that of quantum computing, which opens up our access to doing complex calculations efficiently and quickly. Real-world applications may in time include developing drugs and vaccines faster, improving the efficiencies of batteries, increasing the accuracy of weather forecasts, and securing data with quantum encryption, among others.”
John F. Clauser, of J.F. Clauser & Assoc. in the United States, Alain Aspect, of the Université Paris-Saclay and the École Polytechnique in France, and Anton Zeilinger, of the University of Vienna in Austria, were honored for their experimental work demonstrating quantum entanglement, a behavior that Albert Einstein once called ‘spooky action at a distance.’
Each laureate separately performed tests of the Bell inequalities. Under the principle of local realism, a particle can only be influenced by the objects in its vicinity. However, in quantum mechanics, this is not true: particles can be entangled and influence each other instantaneously at large distances. With their experiments, the winning scientists confirmed the violation of the Bell inequalities, proving physical systems obey quantum mechanics.
John F. Clauser established the first experimental proof that non-local quantum entanglement is real.
Alain Aspect conducted more stringent experiments to further support the violation of Bell’s inequalities, closing some of the remaining loopholes.
Among other tests of Bell’s inequalities, Anton Zeilinger led a Cosmic Bell Test, which confirmed the violation of the inequalities by measuring starlight traveling toward Earth.
The trio’s experiments showed that entangled objects contain information that can be harnessed and used. Such quantum information can be applied to secure information transfer, quantum computing, and sensing technology, and entanglement now plays a large role in experiments in research across the world.
“This prize demonstrates the fundamental beauty of physics,” said AIP Publishing’s Chief Publishing Officer, Penelope Lewis. “With their pioneering experiments in quantum entanglement, Aspect, Clauser, and Zeilinger brought quantum mechanics out of its philosophical beginnings — dating back nearly a century — and into the present day. Their experiments laid the groundwork for incredible advances in quantum computing and cryptography, technologies with the potential to transform the modern world. It is a magnificent way to connect the past, present, and future of applied physics.”
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