04 October 2022

The Nobel Prize for Physics, 2022, has been awarded to Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger, for their research into quantum mechanics and quantum phenomena. Jan-Åke Larsson, professor of information coding at LiU, has made theoretical contributions to experiments led by Anton Zeilinger in Vienna.

Jonathan Jogenfors and Niklas Johansson.Jonathan Jogenfors and Niklas Johansson. Photo credit Thor Balkhed

In 1935, Albert Einstein debated quantum mechanics with Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who had been awarded the Nobel Prize in 1922. Einstein described how two entangled quantum particles seemed to affect each other even at huge distances, and he dismissed this idea, calling it “spooky action at a distance”. Photo credit Thor Balkhed

Since then, untold experiments have shown that when the polarisation of one photon in an entangled pair is measured, the other photon immediately takes on the opposing polarisation – even when several kilometres away.

The researchers awarded the Nobel Prize for 2022 have conducted experiments that show that Niels Bohr was right – the explanation for this phenomenon must come from quantum mechanics.

Spooky action at a distance

Jan-Åke Larsson is a member of a research group with participants from several European universities and led by Professor Anton Zeilinger from the University of Vienna, which showed in 2015 that spooky action at a distance exists and can be observed. This gives incontrovertible evidence that the entangled pairs predicted by quantum mechanics exist.Jan-Åke Larsson.Jan-Åke Larsson. Photo credit Thor Balkhed

“This was the experiment of the century, and showed that the quantum mechanical theories are the only ones possible,” says Jan-Åke Larsson.

A large test was carried out in 2016 in which 100,000 people from all around the world, including several thousand Swedes, contributed random numbers to 12 independent experiments on five continents. Once again, Niels Bohr’s theories were completely vindicated.

Professors Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger are active at the Université Paris-Saclay and École Polytechnique in France, J.F. Clauser & Assoc. in the US, and the University of Vienna in Austria.

For experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violations of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science  
Nobel Prize in Physics 2022,  the Nobel Committee

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