Scientists win Nobel Prize in Physics for proving Einstein wrong

(ORDO NEWS) — The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three scientists for pioneering experiments in quantum mechanics, the theory that describes the microcosm of atoms and particles.

Alain Aspect of the University of Paris-Saclay in France John Clauser of JF Clauser & Associates in the USA and Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna in Austria will share the prize money of SEK 10 million ($915,000) “for experiments with entangled photons that found a violation of the law Bella”. inequalities and groundbreaking quantum informatics”.

The world of quantum mechanics really seems very strange. We are taught in school that we can use equations in physics to accurately predict how things will behave in the future—for example, where a ball will fly if we roll it down a hill.

Quantum mechanics is different from that. Instead of predicting individual outcomes, it tells us the probability of finding subatomic particles in certain places. In fact, a particle can be in multiple places at the same time before “choosing” one place at random when we measure it.

Even the greatest Albert Einstein was bothered by this, to the point where he is convinced it is wrong. Instead of the results being random, he believed there must be some “hidden variables” forces or laws that we can’t see that predictably influence our measurements.

However, some physicists have accepted the implications of quantum mechanics. John Bell, a physicist from Northern Ireland, made an important breakthrough in 1964 when he developed a theoretical test to show that the hidden variables Einstein had in mind did not exist.

According to quantum mechanics, particles can be “entangled,” intricately connected, so that if you manipulate one, you automatically and immediately manipulate the other.

If this eerie phenomenon particles far apart, mysteriously instantly affecting each other were explained by the interaction of particles with each other through hidden variables, it would require communication between them at a speed faster than the speed of light, which is forbidden by Einstein’s theories.

Quantum entanglement is a difficult concept to understand, essentially relating the properties of particles no matter how far apart they are. Imagine a light bulb emitting two photons (particles of light) that travel in opposite directions from it.

If these photons are entangled, then they can have a common property, such as polarization, regardless of their distance. . Bell imagined experimenting with these two photons separately and comparing their results to prove they were entangled (in fact, mysteriously related).

Clauser put Bell’s theory into practice while experimenting with single photons. was almost unthinkable. In 1972, just eight years after Bell’s famous thought experiment, Clauser showed that light could indeed be entangled.

Although Clauser’s results were groundbreaking, there were several alternative, more exotic explanations for his results.

If light didn’t behave quite the way physicists thought, perhaps its results could be explained without entanglement. These explanations are known as loopholes in the Bell test, and Aspect was the first to challenge this.

Aspect came up with an original experiment to eliminate one of the most important potential loopholes in the Bell test. He showed that the entangled photons in the experiment do not actually interact with each other through hidden variables that determine the outcome of the Bell test.

This means that they are indeed connected in an eerie way.

In science, it’s incredibly important to test concepts we think are right. And few have played a more important role in this than the Aspect. Quantum mechanics has been tested over and over again over the past century and has come out unscathed.

Quantum technology

For now, you can be forgiven for asking why it matters how the microscopic world behaves, or that photons can be entangled. This is where Zeilinger’s vision really shines.

We once used our knowledge of classical mechanics to build machines and factories, which led to the Industrial Revolution. Knowledge of the behavior of electronics and semiconductors has led to the digital revolution.

But understanding quantum mechanics allows us to use it to create devices that can do new things. Indeed, many believe that this will lead to the next revolution in quantum technology.

Quantum entanglement can be used in computing to process information in ways that were not possible before. Detecting small changes in entanglement could allow sensors to detect things with greater accuracy than ever before.

Communication with entangled light can also guarantee safety, as measurements of quantum systems can reveal the presence of an eavesdropper.

Zeilinger’s work paved the way for the quantum technological revolution by showing how a series of entangled systems could be linked together to build the quantum equivalent of a network.

In 2022, these applications will be launched. quantum mechanics is not science fiction. We have the first quantum computers. The Micius satellite uses entanglement to provide secure communications around the world. Quantum sensors are used in applications ranging from medical imaging to submarine detection.

After all, the 2022 Nobel Commission recognized the importance of a practical foundation for creating, managing and testing quantum entanglement and the revolution it helps. drive.

I am pleased to see that this trio receives an award. In 2002, I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge, inspired by their work. The goal of my project was to create a simple semiconductor device for generating entangled light.

This was supposed to greatly simplify the equipment needed to conduct quantum experiments and allow the creation of practical devices for real applications. Our work has been a success and I am amazed and excited to see the leaps that have been made in this area since then.


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