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Nobel physics prize goes to sleuths of ‘spooky’ quantum science

STOCKHOLM: Scientists Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for experiments in quantum mechanics that laid the groundwork for rapidly-developing new applications in computing and cryptography.

“Their results have cleared the way for new technology based upon quantum information,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said of the laureates — Aspect, who is French, Clauser, an American and Zeilinger, an Austrian.

The scientists all conducted experiments into quantum entanglement, where two particles are linked regardless of the space between them, a field that unsettled Albert Einstein himself, who once referred to it in a letter as “spooky action at a distance”.

“I’m very happy … I first started this work back in 1969 and I’m happy to still be alive to be able get the prize,” Clauser, 79, told Reuters by phone from his home in Walnut Creek, California.

He said he had witnessed his initial work snowball into much larger experiments. China’s Micius satellite, part of a quantum physics research project, was constructed in part on his findings, he said.

“The configuration of the satellite and the ground station is almost identical to my original experiment. Mine was about 30 feet long, theirs is thousands of kilometres for quantum communication.”

Asked to explain his work in layman’s terms, he joked he does not understand it himself but added that the interactions it describes permeate almost everything. “Probably every particle in the universe is entangled with every other particle,” Clauser said, chuckling.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his congratulations to the winners, adding “Einstein himself did not believe in quantum entanglement! Today, the promises of quantum computing are based on this phenomenon.” — Reuters



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