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Nobel Prize in Physics won by French, US, Austrian scientists

Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Hans Ellegren, Eva Olsson and Thors Hans Hansson, members of the Nobel Committee for Physics, announce the winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics Alain Aspect, John F Clauser and Anton Zeilinger, during a news conference at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct 4, 2022. (TT NEWS AGENCY/ JONAS EKSTROMER VIA REUTERS)

STOCKHOLM – Scientists Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for their advances in quantum mechanics on the behavior of subatomic particles, opening the door to work on super computers and encrypted communication.

The awards were given for "experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science", the award-giving body said on Tuesday.

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There is now a large field of research that includes quantum computers, quantum networks and secure quantum encrypted communication.

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the laureates – Aspect is French, Clauser American and Zeilinger Austrian – enabled further fundamental research and also potentially cleared the way for new practical technology.

"There is now a large field of research that includes quantum computers, quantum networks and secure quantum encrypted communication," it said in a statement.

The more than century-old prize, worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($902,315), is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Physics is the second Nobel to be awarded this week after Swedish geneticist Svante Paabo won the prize for Physiology or Medicine on Monday.

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The prestigious prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created in the will of Alfred Nobel, who made a fortune from his invention of dynamite, and have been awarded since 1901 with some interruptions, primarily the two world wars.

In this April 21, 2004 file photo, Professor Anton Zeilinger from the University of Vienna, left, and Vienna's Mayor Michael Haeupl smile during a press conference where the functioning of quantum cryptography based on entangled light particles will be presented, in Vienna's City Hall. (HANS PUNZ / AP)

The physics prize has often taken center stage among the awards, featuring household names of science such as Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Pierre Curie and Marie Curie, and rewarding breakthroughs that have reshaped how we see the world.

Last year, scientists Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi shared the physics prize for their work on complex physical systems such as Earth's changing climate, key in understanding global warming. 

Announced over consecutive weekdays in early October, the physics prize announcement will be followed by awards for chemistry, literature, peace and economics, the latter added in 1969 to the original line-up.