STOCKHOLM (AP) — Three scientists collectively won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for their work on quantum information science, which has significant applications, such as in the field of encryption.
Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger have been cited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for discovering how particles known as photons can become connected or “entangled” even when separated by large distances are.
“Quantum information science is a vibrant and rapidly developing field,” said Eva Olsson, a member of the Nobel Committee. “It has far-reaching and potential implications for areas such as secure information transmission, quantum computing and sensor technology.”
“Its origin can be traced back to that of quantum mechanics,” she said. “Its predictions opened doors to another world, and it also shook the foundations of our interpretation of measurements.”
At a press conference following the announcement, Zeilinger said he was “still kind of shocked” to hear he’d received the award.
“But it’s a very positive shock,” said Zeilinger, 77, who works at the University of Vienna.
Clauser, Aspect and Zeilinger have been the subject of Nobel speculation for more than a decade. In 2010 they won the Wolf Prize in Israel, which is considered a possible precursor to the Nobel Prize.
While physicists often tackle problems that at first glance seem far removed from everyday concerns—tiny particles and the vast mysteries of space and time—their research provides the basis for many practical applications of science.
Last year, the prize was awarded to three scientists – Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi – whose work has helped explain and predict complex natural forces, thereby advancing our understanding of climate change.
A week of Nobel Prize announcements began on Monday when Swedish scientist Svante Paabo received the Medicine Prize on Monday for unlocking the mysteries of Neanderthal DNA, which provided important insights into our immune system.
It continues with chemistry on Wednesday and literature on Thursday. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the economics prize on October 10.
The prizes are worth 10 million Swedish kronor (almost US$900,000) and will be presented on December 10th. The money comes from an estate of the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
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