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Nobel Prize: Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger Win 2022 Physics Award

Their work on quantum mechanics has paved the way for our understanding of how particles behave at the subatomic scale. They have also laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology, including quantum computing.
Nobel Prize for Physics 2022

Quantum Trio: Aspect, Clauser and Zeilinger recognized (again) for their work with quantum mechanics, this time by the Nobel Prize Committee

Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger have won this year's Nobel Prize in physics for their work in quantum mechanics, Sweden's Karolinska Institute announced on Tuesday.

The institute said the scientists had been recognized for "experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science."

One hour after he received the phone call, prize co-winner Zeilinger was still in shock.

"It's a positive shock, I was surprised to get the call," he said in an interview with the Nobel Prize committee.

"This prize is exciting for the field of quantum mechanics. On the fundamentals, many of the issues about realities and space time are still not answered. I expect some interesting work here in the coming years," he said.

Work on quantum mechanics a new era for technology

The field of quantum mechanics stems from Niels Bohr and Max Planck, the two founding fathers of Quantum Theory.

Using groundbreaking experiments, Aspect, Clauser and Zeilinger demonstrated the potential to investigate and control particles that are in entangled states.

Their work on quantum mechanics has helped improve our understanding of how particles behave at the subatomic level.

Quantum physicists have shown that through quantum entanglement, information can be transferred instantaneously over long distances.

They sometimes talk of teleportation, but it's usually to do with the teleportation of information — it is very unlikely that we will see human teleportation any time soon.

The laureates' development of experimental tools has also laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology, including quantum computing.

Most prestigious award

The Nobel Prize is considered the most prestigious award in the fields it's awarded. Notable winners in physics have included Marie CurieAlbert Einstein and James Chadwick.

The three science prizes always take the first three days in a week of Nobel Prizes, with physiology and medicine on Monday, physics on Tuesday, and chemistry on Wednesday. The Nobel Prizes for literature, peace and economic sciences follow from Thursday.

Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi won the physics prize last year for their work on climate change modeling.

This year's winners receive a cash prize of 10 million Swedish kroner (about €920,000; $908,000), a Nobel medal and world fame. The prizes will be handed out at a gala dinner in December.

Nobel's legacy

The Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded 115 times since the prize's first year in 1901. It's gone to 218 scientists, but only four women.

The first woman to win the Nobel Prize was Marie Curie. She won it twice, once for physics in 1903 and once for chemistry in 1911.

Her husband was initially awarded the prize in 1903, only accepting it under the condition that her contribution was also recognized. 

Alfred Nobel established the prize in his will before he died in 1896. He left the majority of his money to the establishment of "prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind" in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace."

Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and military explosives, famously established the prize so he could leave a better legacy after being criticized for "finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before." That's what a journalist wrote in an obituary published eight years before Nobel's actual death. The article was mistakenly published after the death of Nobel's brother.

The first Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen for his discovery of X-ray technology.

Edited by: Natalie Muller

Courtesy: DW

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