Physics Nobel rewards science at the smallest scaleson October 4, 2022 at 9:54 am

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The award recognises advances in quantum mechanics which describes nature at the sub-atomic scale.

Artwork: Quantum entanglementImage source, Getty Images

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics rewards research into quantum mechanics – the science that describes nature at the smallest scales.

The award goes to Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger.

Their work could open the way to a new generation of powerful computers and telecommunications systems that are impossible to break into.

They will share prize money of 10 million Swedish krona (£800,000).

This three laureates conducted ground-breaking experiments using entangled quantum states, where two sub-atomic particles behave like a single unit even when they are separated.

“Quantum information science is a vibrant and rapidly developing field,” commented Eva Olsson, a member of the Nobel Committee for Physics.

“It has broad and potential implications in areas such as secure information transfer, quantum computing, and sensing technology.”

Alain Aspect, 75, is affiliated to the Université Paris-Saclay and École Polytechnique, Palaiseau. John Clauser, 79, runs his own company in California. Anton Zeilinger, 77, is attached to the University of Vienna.

The same three men won the Wolf Prize together in 2010.

Last year’s Physics Nobel was given to three scientists who advanced our understanding of complex systems – in particular, Earth’s climate.

On Monday, the Nobel committee gave the Physiology or Medicine prize to Sweden’s Svante Paabo for his work on human evolution.

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Previous winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics

Visualisation depicting specific atmospheric humidity on June 17, 1993, during the Great Flood that hit the Midwestern United States

Image source, NASA

2021 – Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi were given the prize for advancing our understanding of complex systems, such as Earth’s climate.

2020 – Sir Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez received the prize for their work on the nature of black holes.

2019 – James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz shared the prize for ground-breaking discoveries about the Universe.

2018 – Donna Strickland, Arthur Ashkin and Gerard Mourou were awarded the prize for their discoveries in the field of laser physics.

2017 – Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish earned the award for the detection of gravitational waves.

2016 – David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz shared the award for their work on rare phases of matter.

2015 – Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald were awarded the prize the discovery that neutrinos switch between different “flavours”.

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