Quantum physics is the focus of Nobel buzz

Oct 04, 2011 By LOUISE NORDSTROM , Associated Press
This is a Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 file photo of Professor Andre Geim, left, and Dr Konstantin Novoselov are seen outside Manchester University, Manchester, England. The scientists won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)

Three physicists whose research on entangled particles plays a key role in attempts to develop super-fast quantum computers could be in the running for the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday.

Although the award committee doesn't give any clues about candidates for the 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award, Alain Aspect of France, John Clauser of the United States and Anton Zeilinger of Austria are the hottest names in the speculation this year.

For example, the trio is the top bet of leading Nobel-guesser Karin Bojs, the science editor of the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The physicists' work on entangled quantum states shows that particles can be connected even across long distances so that a change in one of them impacts the other. Scientists believe that can be used in the development of quantum computers, many times faster than the computers used today.

Last year, Aspect, Clauser and Zeilinger won the Wolf Prize in Israel, which sometimes is a precursor to the Nobel.

Other contenders could include Israel's Yakir Aharonov and Britain's Michael Berry for work on the Aharonov-Bohm Effect and the related Berry Phase, also within .

Developed by Aharonov and the late David Bohm in 1959, the theory explains the actions of parts of atoms around a magnetic field, allowing an electron effectively to split around the magnetic field and rejoin later.

The physics prize is the second Nobel Prize to be announced this year.

The medicine prize, announced Monday, went to American Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann who shared it with Canadian-born Ralph Steinman for their discoveries about the immune system. Their research has opened up new avenues for the treatment and prevention of infectious illnesses and cancer.

Steinman died of pancreatic cancer three days before the announcement. The said it was unaware that then had already died when it awarded the prize to him. The committee is only supposed to consider living scientists, but after an emergency meeting Monday, the Nobel Foundation said the decision on the to Steinman will remain unchanged.

The prestigious Nobel Prizes were established in the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, and have been handed out since 1901.

Last year's physics award went to Russian-born scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for groundbreaking experiments with graphene, the strongest and thinnest material known to mankind.

The prizes are handed out every year on Dec. 10, on the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.

Explore further: When parallel worlds collide, quantum mechanics is born

3.8 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Canada's PM lauds Nobel laureate Steinman

Oct 03, 2011

Canada's prime minister paid tribute Monday to Canadian cell biologist Ralph Steinman, who died days before being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his pioneering work on the immune system.

Nobel jury caught off guard by death of laureate

Oct 03, 2011

The Nobel Medicine Prize jury was caught off guard Monday when it honoured a Canadian scientist who unbeknownst to them died just days before the announcement, with prize rules forbidding posthumous awards. ...

Obesity or stem cell research could win Nobel

Oct 02, 2011

Two scientists who unlocked some of the mysteries linked to obesity or a professor who figured out how to make stem cells without human embryos could be candidates for the medicine award when the first of ...

Stem cell pioneers among Nobel Prize candidates

Oct 04, 2009

(AP) -- Two Canadian scientists whose discovery of stem cells has paved the way for controversial research could be candidates for the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine, the winners of which will be announced Monday.

Recommended for you

Quantum holograms as atomic scale memory keepsake

Oct 21, 2014

Russian scientists have developed a theoretical model of quantum memory for light, adapting the concept of a hologram to a quantum system. These findings from Anton Vetlugin and Ivan Sokolov from St. Petersburg ...

1980s aircraft helps quantum technology take flight

Oct 20, 2014

What does a 1980s experimental aircraft have to do with state-of-the art quantum technology? Lots, as shown by new research from the Quantum Control Laboratory at the University of Sydney, and published in Nature Physics today. ...

User comments : 0