2022 Nobel Prize in Physics Goes to Three Scientists for Discovering Quantum Mechanics | Science

Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger are the winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics, announced the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday (4).

The winners are from France, the United States and Austria, respectively. They will share the prize which totals 10 million Swedish kronor (about R$ 4.8 million).

Scientists won the Nobel for studies on quantum mechanics, a field of physics that investigates the behavior of very tiny particles such as atoms, electrons and photons.

The findings “laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology,” the Nobel committee said.

“Being able to manipulate and manage quantum states and all their layers of properties gives us access to tools with unexpected potential.”

The 2022 Nobel Prize winners in Physics. — Photo: The Nobel Prize/Disclosure

Last year, the Physics prize went to three scientists who have contributed to models of global warming. Since 1901, more than 200 people have been laureates. The scientific distinction was not awarded only on six occasions: in 1916, 1931, 1934, 1940, 1941 and 1942.

By 2021, of the 218 people awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, only 4 were women. Among them, Polish scientist Marie Curie, the first woman to win the award.

  • SCIENTISTS: Women make up just 5% of Nobel Prize winners since 1901
  • LIST: seven women pioneers in science

Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger are the 2022 Nobel Prize winners in Physics for groundbreaking experiments using the quantum entanglement.

  • Alain Aspect was born in 1947 in Agen, France. In 1983 he received his doctorate from the Paris-Sud University in Orsay, France. He is currently a professor at Université Paris-Saclay and at École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, also in France.
  • John F. Clauser was born in 1942 in Pasadena, California (USA). In 1969, he received his doctorate from Columbia University, New York. He is currently a research physicist at the JF Clauser & Assoc research center. also in the USA.
  • Anton Zeilinger was born in 1945 in Ried im Innkreis, Austria. In 1971, he received his doctorate from the University of Vienna. He is currently a professor at the same institution.

Anton Zeilinger during the press conference that announced him as one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2022. — Photo: The Nobel Prize/Handout

the laurel in Medicine was the first to be announced, on the second (3). The awards in Chemistry, Literature and Peace will be delivered later this week; already the laurel in Economy will be released next Monday (10). See the schedule:

  • Medicine: Monday, October 3
  • Physical: Tuesday, October 4
  • Chemistry: Wednesday, October 5
  • Literature: Thursday, October 6th
  • Peace: Friday, October 7
  • Economy: Monday, October 10

See below for questions and answers about the award.

The laurel was created by chemist and entrepreneur Alfred Nobel. Inventor of dynamite in 1867, the Swede donated most of his fortune in his will to create prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace (the economics prize was created years later).

The document said that the prizes should be awarded “to those who, during the previous year, have bestowed the greatest benefit on humanity”.

A bust of Nobel Prize founder Alfred Nobel on display during the 2018 award ceremony in Stockholm. — Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP, File

However, nowadays, as explained by Juleen Zierath, a member of the Karolinska Institute -the jury for the Nobel Prize in Medicine-, this rule is no longer taken to the letter.

“You may have made this discovery at a very early stage in your research career, or you may have made this discovery at a very late stage in your research career,” she points out.

How is the prize chosen?

Every year, the Nobel Committee sends a nomination request to members of the scientific community.

This means that some eligible candidates receive a special invitation to submit their names. Without this invitation, no postulant can compete for the prize.

“You cannot nominate yourself, but members of scientific communities, deans of faculties of Medicine [no caso do prêmio na área]former Nobel laureates and others working in the broader scientific field who have received this request can make a nomination,” says Zierath.

How many people can share the same prize?

Up to three people can share a Nobel Prize, or one organization can win the Peace Laureate.

The Nobel Foundation, responsible for carrying out the wishes of its founder, points out that this rule is described in Alfred Nobel’s will.

The Nobel Prize Medal. — Photo: The Nobel Prize

“In no case may the prize amount be divided between more than three people”, highlights a portion of the document. Some researchers, however, criticize this choice and claim that scientific discoveries today are much more collective: the work of several researchers.

Can the laurel be awarded posthumously? Is there an age limit?

No, a Nobel Prize cannot be awarded posthumously.

Despite this, the Foundation emphasizes that, since 1974, if the recipient of the award dies after the announcement, the laurel may still be awarded.

About the age limit, the prize also doesn’t have a rule about it.

“What I would say is that, most of the time, it takes many years for the scientific field to recognize that the discovery you made is a distinction that should be considered for a Nobel Prize. So sometimes you have to be quite patient. “, emphasizes Zierath.

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