Three scientists have been given the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering work in one of the most remarkable quantum mechanics experiments, which defied Einstein and revealed the strange phenomenon of quantum teleportation.
The organizing committee announced in Stockholm on Tuesday that Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger had won the Nobel Prize in physics for their essential contributions to the research of particle and atom behavior known as quantum mechanics.
The trio's research focuses on quantum entanglement, a phenomenon in which two or more quantum particles are coupled in such a way that any change in one will cause a simultaneous change in the other, even though they are separated by immense, even infinite, distances. This effect allows quantum computers to carry out several calculations at once, greatly increasing their processing capability compared to traditional devices.
Decades after Albert Einstein's passing, experiments by the three physicists demonstrated that quantum entanglement was actual, not just hypothetical and that their work "has laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology." Quantum entanglement has been one of the most contentious aspects of quantum mechanics, and Einstein famously called it "spooky action at a distance."
Aspect, Clauser, and Zeilinger were each born in their respective countries-France, California, and Austria. Their findings have improved and added to the work of John Stewart Bell, whose theorem revolutionized how the scientific community understood quantum physics.
Shortly after hearing he'd won the prize, Zeilinger, a professor at the University of Vienna, Austria, told journalists in Stockholm, "I'm still kind of shocked but it's a very positive shock. I was actually very surprised."
The winners' work confirmed that "quantum mechanics actually have utility in real-world applications," Michael Moloney, CEO of the American Institute of Physics said. "It's not just this theory to explain all the counterintuitive nature of the quantum world. It showed that by measuring some of the predictions we can engage in applications like quantum computing and quantum cryptography."
The 10 million Swedish krona ($915,000) award money will be divided among the three scientists.
The renowned Nobel Prizes are being awarded throughout the week, and on Monday, Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo was recognized for his groundbreaking work in using ancient DNA to reveal human evolution's mysteries. Later this week, the winners of the Nobel Prizes in science, literature, and peace will be announced. On Monday, the economics prize will bring the 2022 list to a close.