In most cases, the Nobel Prize in Physics is given to researchers who explain the workings of the natural world, i.e., those whose discoveries make it easier to comprehend the cosmos.
However, the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2022 was shared by three physicists who demonstrated that the cosmos is even more bizarre than we had previously believed because of quantum entanglement.
The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly 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.” The prize was presented in Stockholm in December and the prize money of £800,000 was shared equally between the winners.
The three scientists took forward the work of John Stewart Bell, which attempted to answer questions raised in a 1935 paper by Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen. They worked independently to establish the quantum property of entanglement, a property that has an important role in quantum computers. Quantum computers are faster than conventional machines and can manage many tasks much more efficiently.
While quantum mechanics has been a field of physics for over a century and has already had many practical applications in everyday life, from transistors to lasers, the potential applications of the principles of quantum mechanics appear limitless. The Nobel Prize committee said that the 2022 physics laureates’ development of experimental tools has laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology.
In a press conference, Anton Zeilinger said that the prize is an encouragement to young people and that it would not have been possible without the over 100 young people who worked with him over the years. Zeilinger is a previous recipient of the Institute of Physics (IOP) Isaac Newton Medal and Prize, having won in 2008. The IOP Newton Medal committee selected Zeilinger as a laureate and he gave a lecture at the IOP followed by a jazz evening.