Bell Prize goes to scientists who proved 'spooky' quantum entanglement is real

August 25, 2017, University of Toronto
The John Stewart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and their Applications, awarded by the University of Toronto. Credit: University of Toronto

A trio of scientists who defied Einstein by proving the nonlocal nature of quantum entanglement will be honoured with the John Stewart Bell Prize from the University of Toronto (U of T). The prize recognizes the most significant recent achievements in the world in quantum mechanics and is considered by many to be the top international award in the field.

The recipients each led separate experiments in 2015 that showed two particles so distant from one another that no signal could connect them even at the speed of light nevertheless possessed an invisible and instantaneous connection. They are:

  • Ronald Hanson, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  • Sae-Woo Nam of the National Institute of Standards & Technology, United States
  • Anton Zeilinger, University of Vienna, Austria

According to quantum entanglement, the world is a very weird place where become correlated in pairs. These pairs predictably interact with each other regardless of how far apart they are: if you measure the properties of one member of the entangled pair you know the properties of the other. Einstein was not a believer: in the 1930s, he called it "spooky action at a distance."

"While many experiments have come close to proving entanglement, the scientists we are honouring have closed previous loopholes," says Professor Aephraim Steinberg, a at the U of T's Centre for Quantum Information & Quantum Control (CQIQC) and one of the founders of the Bell Prize. Earlier tests, for example, were plagued by the difficulties of ensuring that no signal could make it from one detector to the other as well as the fact that so many photons were being lost in the test process.

"Collectively, they have removed all reasonable doubt about the nonlocal nature of . In so doing they are also opening the door to exciting new technologies including super-secure communications and the ability to perform certain computations exponentially faster than any classical computer," says Steinberg.

Created by the CQIQC at U of T in 2005, the John Stewart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and their Applications is judged by an international panel of experts and awarded every two years for achievements in the previous six years.

"Advancing understanding of , along with its technological applications, is something that deserves to be celebrated and recognized around the world. We expect that, in some cases, the Bell Prize will prove to be a precursor to the Nobel Prize in Physics," says Daniel James, director of the CQIQC.

The will be awarded on Thursday, August 31 at 1:25 pm at the Fields Institute on the U of T campus. Recipients will give short talks after the ceremony.

Explore further: Researchers demonstrated violation of Bell's inequality on frequency-bin entangled photon pairs

Related Stories

Unbreakable quantum entanglement

May 10, 2017

Einstein's "spooky action at a distance" persists even at high accelerations, researchers of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna were able to show in a new experiment. A source of entangled photon ...

Envisioning a future quantum internet

May 4, 2017

The quantum internet, which connects particles linked together by the principle of quantum entanglement, is like the early days of the classical internet – no one can yet imagine what uses it could have, according to Professor ...

One step closer to the quantum internet by distillation

June 6, 2017

Scientists all over the world are working towards new methods to realize an unhackable internet, an internet based on quantum entanglement – an invisible quantum mechanical connection – as networking links. The greatest ...

Recommended for you

Neutrons help demystify multiferroic materials

March 19, 2018

Materials used in electronic devices are typically chosen because they possess either special magnetic or special electrical properties. However, an international team of researchers using neutron scattering recently identified ...

Designing diamonds for medical imaging technologies

March 19, 2018

Japanese researchers have optimized the design of laboratory-grown, synthetic diamonds. This brings the new technology one step closer to enhancing biosensing applications, such as magnetic brain imaging. The advantages of ...

Taking MRI technology down to micrometer scales

March 19, 2018

Millions of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are performed each year to diagnose health conditions and perform biomedical research. The different tissues in our bodies react to magnetic fields in varied ways, allowing ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2017
So much for the quasi-religion that Einstein worshippers have peddled for years about 'c'. Suspect that old Albert would have not liked such folks much either as he was all for open mindedness during a life partially devoted to fighting closed minded German 'notzis'.
Da Schneib
not rated yet Aug 27, 2017
How appropriate that there should be a prize named for Bell and that it should go to these physicists. Congratulations!
not rated yet Aug 28, 2017
So much for the quasi-religion that Einstein worshippers have peddled for years about 'c'

Nonlocality did not (and does not) invalidate c as the cosmic speed limit of information.
Spaced out Engineer
not rated yet Aug 28, 2017
But do non-local hidden variables, just say don't look? God throws entangled.
At some point the surreal fatalistic pilot wave becomes the configuration space, and thus it is not an observable claim, more interesting is how its predictions are not distinguishable from other theories.
This experiment is right, in so far as 3-dimensional cosmological observations can inquire presently, maybe not those of different complete phase spaces.
Time-like hidden variables just let Nature cheat, but maybe she does. Or we just have to wait for the equivalence of the timeless. Any trajectory of inference made could always be adjusted in the foreplay.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.