Public Lecture

Speaker: Alain Aspect, Professor of Physics, Institut d'Optique &  École Polytechnique Palaiseau, CNRS senior scientist

Date: Friday, 20 June 2014

Time: 8 p.m.

Venue: Austrian Academy of Sciences, Großer Festsaal
Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna, 1. Stiege, 1. Stock

Please join us for celebratory drinks and informal discussions after the talk.

Alain Aspect, Professor of Physics at the Institut d'Optique and at École Polytechnique Palaiseau and CNRS senior scientist, explores the foundations of quantum physics and their applications. He is one of the pioneers who performed seminal Bell test experiments, which showed Albert Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance” with two entangled particles separated by an arbitrarily large distance. Aspect's experiments were considered to provide overwhelming support to the the thesis of the nonlocal structure of Nature. Currently, Aspect conducts experiments on laser cooling of neutral atoms and is now mostly involved in Bose–Einstein condensates and quantum simulation. Stages in his career include the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS Cachan), the Université d'Orsay, the Collège de France, and CNRS at Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l’Institut d'Optique. He also served as a volunteer, teaching in Yaoundé (Cameroon). He is a member of numerous scientific academies, including the Académie des Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences USA where he is a foreign Associate. He is also foreign corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.  Among his many distinctions are the CNRS Gold Medal (France), the Humboldt Award (Germany), the  Tomassoni Award (Italy), the Max Born Award of the Optical Society of America (USA), the Albert Einstein Medal (Switzerland), the Niels Bohr Gold Medal (Denmark), the Wolf Prize in Physics (Israel) and the Balzan Prize in Quantum Information (Italy/Switzerland).


From Einstein’s intuition to quantum bits:  a new quantum age

In 1935, with co-authors Podolsky and Rosen, Einstein discovered a weird quantum situation, where particles in a pair are so strongly correlated that Schrödinger called them “entangled”. By analyzing that situation, Einstein concluded that the quantum formalism was incomplete. Niels Bohr immediately opposed that conclusion, and the debate lasted until the death of these two giants of physics.

In 1964, John Bell discovered that it is possible to settle the debate experimentally, by testing the famous "Bell's inequalities", and to show directly that the revolutionary concept of entanglement is indeed a reality.

Based on that concept, a new field of research has emerged, quantum information, where one uses quantum bits, the so-called “qubits”, to encode the information and process it. Entanglement between qubits enables conceptually new methods for processing and transmitting information. Large-scale practical implementation of such concepts might revolutionize our society, as did the laser, the transistor and integrated circuits, some of the most striking fruits of the first quantum revolution, which began with the 20th century. To cite only one example of these new concepts, quantum cryptography will allow us to guarantee an absolute privacy of communications, based the most fundamental laws of quantum mechanics.


Quantum [Un]Speakables II: 50 Years of Bell's Theorem

A celebration of John Bell, his theorem, and its consequences.

June 19 – 22, 2014, Vienna, Austria             

Sponsoring Institutions

Graphic Design: Raoul Krischanitz

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