Nobel Prize in Physics awarded for laying the foundations of quantum computing

Nobel Prize in Physics awarded for laying the foundations of quantum computing
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Three scientists who helped lay the foundations of quantum computing were awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday. Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger detailed the particular phenomenon called entanglement that connects the behavior of two tiny particles and is now used to perform quantum calculations.

Entanglement connects two states of two small particles such as photons, the smallest possible light pulses. Albert Einstein, skeptical of the phenomenon but later proven to be false, called entanglement “spooky action at a distance”, because it seems so peculiar that the properties of one particle can be linked to those of another. even though the two were isolated so that no information about one could reach the other.

From the 1970s through the 1990s, Clauser, Aspect, and Zeilinger conducted a series of increasingly sophisticated entanglement experiments. Einstein and his colleagues suggested that something beyond quantum mechanics called “hidden variables” would explain entanglement. The Nobel Prize winners’ experiments detailed an idea of ​​quantum physics that disproved hidden variables and eventually developed a process called teleportation that is crucial for quantum manipulations.

This research has helped pave the way for the quantum computing industry today, in which an increasing number of entangled entities called qubits can be used to process data. Although the technology is still nascent, tech giants and startups are making steady progress, investing billions of dollars to develop quantum computers that, in years to come, could perform some calculations beyond the reach of conventional computers.

An Illustration Shows 2022 Nobel Laureates Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser And Anton Zeilinger

The 2022 Nobel laureates are, from left to right, Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger.

Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Prize for Outreach

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prize each year, compares the experiment to test hidden variables to a machine that throws two balls, one white and one black, to separate the people, Alice and Bob. If Alice catches a white ball, she knows that Bob caught a black one. But before the balls are seen, each ball is actually in an unknown gray state.

The idea of ​​hidden variables posits that before the balls were thrown, each indeed knew whether it would turn black or white. Quantum mechanics postulates that these two balls, in an entangled state, turned black or white at random.

Nobel laureates have studied an idea called Bell’s inequality that helps determine which explanation is true. Quantum mechanics violates Bell’s inequality.

Zeilinger worked at the University of Vienna in Austria; Clauser at JF Clauser & Assoc. In the USA; and Aspect at Paris-Saclay University and École Polytechnique in France.


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