This Tuesday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics to physicists Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier, parents of new tools to explore the world of electrons inside atoms, in a ceremony organized in Stockholm. The award is worth 11 million Swedish crowns, about 950,000 euros. This is Nobel week. This Monday, the Karolinska Institute announced that this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to the Hungarian biologist Katalin Karikó and the American immunologist Drew Weissman, parents of effective RNA vaccines against covid. This Wednesday the Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be announced; on Thursday, Literature; and on Friday, Peace.
The Swedish Academy awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics to Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger, for their pioneering work in the science of quantum communication. The three physicists have shown that it is possible to control particles in quantum entanglement, a state in which what happens to one particle determines what happens to another, even if they are kilometers away. In 2012, Zeilinger’s group managed to “teleport a quantum state” between two entangled photons of light separated by 143 kilometers: one was on the Canary island of Tenerife and the other on La Palma.
The specialized company Clarivate Analytics placed physicist Sharon C. Glotzer, from the University of Michigan (USA), in its 2023 pools, who develops new materials with properties derived from their molecular structure. Among the favorites was also the Italian physicist Federico Capasso, father at Bell Laboratories (USA) of the quantum cascade laser, a new type of high-power laser. And Stuart Parkin, director of the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics, in the German city of Halle, for inventing new memory devices with greater capacity for storing data.
The magazine Physics World, published by the Institute of Physics of the United Kingdom, a few days ago placed two Spaniards among the favorites for the Nobel Prize: Ignacio Cirac, director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Germany and pioneer of quantum computing; and Pablo Jarillo Herrero, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) who already won the prestigious Wolf Prize in 2020 after discovering superconductivity in twisted two-layer graphene, a material that promises an energy revolution.
The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded since 1901 to 219 men and five women: in addition to Anne L’Huillier, the Polish Marie Curie (1903), for studying radiation; the German Maria Goeppert Mayer (1963), for describing the nucleus of atoms; the Canadian Donna Strickland (2018), for a new technique to generate ultrashort high-intensity laser pulses; and the American Andrea Ghez (2020), for discovering a supermassive compact object in the center of our galaxy.
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