Cloak of invisibility and quantum physics expected for the Nobel Prize

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Stockholm (AFP)

Quantum physics, invisibility cloaks and a leading Italian theorist are all set to win the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday, a year after pioneering black hole research.

The prestigious honor, to be announced at 11:45 am (09:45 GMT) in Stockholm, is the second Nobel Prize of the season after the Medicine Prize was awarded on Monday to American duo David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for discoveries on the receptors of the temperature and touch. .

After giving the green light to research in the field of astronomy over the past two years, experts suggest that the Nobel committee could look elsewhere this year.

Frenchman Alain Aspect has been mentioned for years as a potential laureate for his research on quantum entanglement, possibly with Anton Zeilinger of Austria and John Clauser of the United States.

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more particles or molecules share one or more properties such as spin, polarization or momentum.

The effect persists even if you move one of the entangled objects away from the other, and actions performed on one affect the other.

Einstein described the theory, launched in the 1930s, as “frightening” because of the immediacy of the interaction at a distance.

In experiments conducted in France in the early 1980s, Aspect demonstrated the theory in practice for the first time, also proving that Einstein was partially wrong on the subject.

Nobel Prize watchers also said physicists who paved the way for quantum computing and cryptography could also be considered for the prize, with Americans Charles Bennett and Peter Shor and Canadian Gilles Brassard mentioned.

The holy grail of information technology, the quantum computer can process complex information at breakneck speed and is expected to far outperform even today’s most powerful conventional computers.

– Harry Potter –

Meanwhile, Briton John Pendry would delight physicists and Harry Potter fans with a Nobel Prize for what has been dubbed an “invisibility cloak”.

He published an idea for the concept in 2006, which used metamaterials to bend light around an object, making it invisible.

His original idea has spread to many other applications, ranging from acoustic blanking to building blanking against earthquakes.

According to the specialized institute Clarivate, which publishes each year a list of research worthy of a Nobel Prize, the Nobel Prize could also go to the Italian theoretical physicist Giorgio Parisi for his “revolutionary discoveries relating to quantum chromodynamics and the study of complex disordered systems ”.

“A lot of things that are difficult for ordinary people to understand,” summed up the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

Nobel laureate in physics Roger Penrose received the 2020 prize with Reinhard Genzel from Germany and Andrea Ghez from the United States Niklas HALLE’N POOL / AFP / File

Last year the physics prize went to Roger Penrose from Great Britain, Reinhard Genzel from Germany and Andrea Ghez from the United States, three pioneers in the field of black holes, of which nothing, not even light, cannot escape.

If the committee were to honor space work again, Mexican-British researcher Carlos Frenk, Argentinian-Canadian Julio Navarro and German-British Simon White were seen as possibilities for their research on training and evolution of galaxies, cosmic structures and dark matter halos. .

– Search for vaccines against Covid-19 –

The Medicine Prize kicked off the 2021 Nobel Prize season on Monday, awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for breakthroughs that paved the way for the treatment of chronic pain.

Hungarians Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman from the United States – who pioneered the technology behind Covid-19 mRNA vaccines and were among the favorites for Monday’s medicine prize – could have a chance at winning the chemistry price announced Wednesday.

The two most watched awards, for Literature and Peace, will follow Thursday and Friday.

For literature, it remains to be seen whether the Swedish Academy will deliver on its promise of greater diversity by choosing a non-Westerner for the first time in a decade.

As for peace, the field seems wide open this year, with press freedom organizations, Belarusian opposition leaders and climate activists all seen as possible winners.

The savings prize will end on Monday, October 11.

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