Nobel Prize in Physics 2022

Nobel Prize in Physics 2022

News: This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in equal parts to Alain Aspect of the University of Paris- Saclay, John F. Clauser of J. F. Clauser & Associates, and Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna, for their pathfinding work in quantum mechanics and quantum information science.

• For about 100 years now, quantum ‘entanglement’ has triggered an intense but fascinating debate over the nature of reality among some of the sharpest brains of the 20 th century. It is one of the main reason’s why Quantum theory appears so strange and counterintuitive.

How did the trio ensure balance of debate is tilted in one direction?
• Their experiments have conclusively established that the ‘entanglement’ phenomenon observed in quantum particles was real, not a result of any ‘hidden’ or unknown forces, and that it could be utilised to make transformative technological advances in computing, hack-free communications, and science fiction-like concept of ‘teleportation’.

What is Quantum ‘entanglement’?
• According to it, two particles having ‘interacted’ with each other at some stage, were found to have got ‘entangled’ in a way that the behavior of one produced an instantaneous reaction in the other even if the two were no longer connected in any way and were separated by very large distances.
• Einstein was however not comfortable with this. He proposed that there was something missing, and that quantum theory was not yet complete.
• However, experimentalists were discovering that almost every prediction made by the quantum theory was being obeyed the sub-atomic particles. The only problem being an experiment to test a phenomenon like entanglement did not appear feasible.

What is Bell’s inequality experiment?
• John Bell, showed mathematically what was required to be done by experimentalists to establish the phenomenon of entanglement.

• The famous Bell’s inequality, if maintained in the results of experiments, would mean that Einstein was right. If violated, it would prove the predictions of Quantum theory.

What is the role played by 3 nobel laureates?
• Clauser was the first to set up an experiment to test entanglement.
• Aspect is credited with vastly improving the set-up of Clauser and removing the loopholes critics had found.
• Zellinger demonstrated that it was possible to ‘teleport’ the quantum states of a particle to another location without the particle moving anywhere and without a medium.

Significance of Findings:
• It will be utilized to build the next generation of computers, called quantum computers, which exploit the quantum behavior of particles to overcome challenges considered unsurmountable.
• It will be used to create secure communication algorithms that would be immune to hacking.

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