The winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics were recognized for their experiments in quantum mechanics

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded this Tuesday Nobel Prize in Physics to the French scientist Alain Aspectto the American John F Clauser and to Austrian Anton Zeilinger. All specialists in quantum physics. The jury highlighted that the winners carried out pioneering experiments with entangled quantum statesin which two particles behave as a single unit even when they are separated.

The results cleared the way for a new technology based on quantum information.. In that sense, the members of the committee said that the world’s top prize in physics was awarded “for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell’s inequalities and pioneering quantum information science.”

The winners were the scientists Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger

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“It is becoming increasingly clear that a new type of quantum technology is emerging. We can see that the winners’ work with entangled states is of great importance, even beyond fundamental questions about the interpretation of quantum mechanics”, highlighted Anders Irbäck, Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics.

What the winners contributed with their experiments

In the 60s, John Stewart Bell developed the mathematical inequality that bears his name. It states that if there hidden variables, the correlation between the results of a large number of measurements will never exceed a certain value. However, the quantum mechanics predicts that a certain type of experiment will violate Bell’s inequalityleading to a stronger correlation than would otherwise be possible.

John Clauser took Bell’s ideas and gave rise to a new practical experiment. When making the measurements, they supported quantum mechanics after clearly violating a Bell inequality. This meant that this type of mechanics cannot be replaced by a theory that uses hidden variables.

After Clauser’s experiment, some doubts remained. Then Alain Aspect he developed the setup and used it in such a way as to close an important loophole. He managed to modify the configuration of the measurements after an entangled pair had left its source, so that the configuration that existed when they were issued could not affect the result.

Black and white balls, stored. Under quantum mechanics, both balls are gray until someone looks at them. (Photo: Twitter)

With the use of refined tools and long series of experiments, Anton Zeilinger began to handle entangled quantum states. His research demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum teleportation, which allows a quantum state of one particle to be moved to another at a distance.

Once again, it demonstrated American dominance in Physics: Almost 44 percent of the winners have this nationality, ahead of the Germans (28) and the British (25).

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While, last year, the Royal Swedish Academy distinguished the Japanese Syukuro Manabe, the German Klaus Hasselmann and the Italian Giorgio Parisi for their “pioneering contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems”.

Like the rest of the prizes, the Nobel Prize in Physics is endowed this year with SEK 10 million (916,000 euros or 882,000 dollars).

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The winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics were recognized for their experiments in quantum mechanics