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Blog

Nobel predictions

fert.jpg
Albert Fert: who will be the next winner?

By Hamish Johnston

Earlier this week I was at a Royal Society meeting on spintronics to film the latest in our series of interviews with high-profile physicists.

My first interviewee was the Nobel laureate Albert Fert, who shared the 2007 prize for his work on giant magnetoresistance. I asked Prof Fert for his predictions for this year’s prize — which will be awarded next Tuesday — and he tipped his Orsay colleague Alain Aspect.

In 1981, Aspect and colleagues were the first to demonstrate quantum entanglement at a distance — as defined by the violation of Bell’s inequality. Since then physicists including David Wineland, Peter Zoller, Juan Ignacio Cirac and Anton Zeilinger have invented ways of using entanglement as the basis of quantum cryptography and nascent quantum processors.

Indeed, Zoller and Cirac have been tipped by Thomson Reuters for the prize.

So how about Aspect plus two of Zoller, Cirac, Zeilinger or Wineland for this year’s award? But how to choose — and is it too early for a quantum-information prize, which will surely be given some day?

Another suggestion that came up in London is a prize for the 1995 discovery of the first planet orbiting a star other than the Sun. A long shot — but it would have exoplanet pioneers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz packing their DJs for Stockholm.

What do folks around here think?

James Dacey predicts quantum cryptography — and Anton Zeilinger in particular.

Michael Banks says “Saul Perlmutter and Brian Schmidt for discovering that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Outside bet is Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for the discovery of graphene.”

“Yakir Aharanov for the Aharanov-Bohm effect and Michael Berry for the Berry phase,” says Physics World supremo Matin Durrani. “If I keep saying it often enough, it surely will happen. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the AB effect and 25 years since Berry’s paper so the timing is appropriate.”

So, what do you think?

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6 comments

  1. Alexander Deacon

    I think this year Andre Geim and Novoselov will take it. Graphene has way too many applications to be ignored.

  2. davidovich landau

    Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for the discovery of graphene. Sumio Ijiima for discovering carbon nanotubes.

  3. Jimbo

    Wineland just won another physics prize, and a Nobel would tally four for the U.of Colo./JILA/NIST, so that would not be a surprise there. However, quantum computers are not a reality yet, so the others will probably have to wait until it is.
    In this Year of Astronomy, a solid pick would be Perlmutter & Schmidt who set the world of physics on fire with their discovery of the Hubble acceleration 11 years ago, a fire which continues to burn brightly with no sign of embers.

  4. robert matthews

    Aspect should be in the running….maybe with Zeilinger at the same time. Of course, I’d be more confident of their winning if they were Americans.
    Mayor et al are unlikely, as (a) it’s astronomy, a bit of an orphan science in the Nobel categories, and (b) there could be problems over the fact that the first “exo-planet” is often said to be some chunk of rubble orbiting some pulsar, discovered a few years earlier. The Perlmutter/Schmidt is a much better bet. And they’re Americans !

  5. MBR

    Aspect would certainly be a good choice, but if there is a prize for quantum cryptography, then surely Charles Bennett should be included (probably with G. Brassard). Bennett had the foresight to realize the potential in Wiesner’s rejected proposal for quantum money. B&B made the first proposals for quantum cryptography and also co-authored the first proposal for quantum teleportation. Bennett would be a good choice for other reasons, e.g., his work on reversibility of classical computation.

  6. Aspect would certainly be a good choice, but if there is a prize for quantum cryptography, then surely Charles Bennett should be included (probably with G. Brassard). Bennett had the foresight to realize the potential in Wiesner’s rejected proposal for quantum money. B&B made the first proposals for quantum cryptography and also co-authored the first proposal for quantum teleportation. Bennett would be a good choice for other reasons, e.g., his work on reversibility of classical computation.
    i agree you!

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