Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012… explained

The Nobel prize in Physics 2012 was jointly awarded yesterday to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland “for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems”.

Haroche and Wineland showed with real experiments of photons that it is possible for a quantum system to exist in two states at the same time. Originally, this was proposed by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1933) within the quantum theory framework. The fact that a photon or an atom can exist in two states at the same time can have practical applications in life, i.e. in the quantum computer. Today’s computers store information in bits, which can have the value of 0 or 1 only. In quantum computing, a bit can exist in 0 and 1 at the same time (qubit), allowing for parallel computations at astronomical speeds. The quantum computer might revolutionize our lives the way computer have changed the way we live in the past century.

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