Austrian Rotary member wins Nobel Prize in physics

Anton Zeilinger, a member of the Rotary Club of Wien-West in Austria, was announced as the winners of the Nobel Prize
Dan Smith

Dan Smith

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Photo by Thomas Duncan/Photography; courtesy of the John Templeton Foundation

Anton Zeilinger, a member of the Rotary Club of Wien-West in Austria, was among three physicists who were announced as the winners of the Nobel Prize in physics on 4 October for their experiments in quantum mechanics. Their research laid the groundwork for rapidly developing new applications in computing and cryptography.

Zeilinger, a professor at the University of Vienna, shared the award with French physicist Alain Aspect and U.S. physicist John F. Clauser. Their experiments explored quantum entanglement, a phenomenon that occurs when two particles behave as a single unit, even when separated. The three scientists will share the prize of nearly US$900,000.

“I’m still kind of shocked, but it’s a very positive shock,” Zeilinger told reporters in Stockholm, Sweden, shortly after learning that he won. “I was actually very surprised to get the call.”

He also acknowledged the contributions of more than 100 students who had worked for him over the years. He advised young people, “Do what you find interesting, and don’t care too much about possible applications.”

The Nobel Prizes are announced every October and November by committees in Sweden and Norway for groundbreaking contributions in chemistry, economic sciences, literature, peace work, physics, and physiology or medicine. In December, Zeilinger and the other laureates will accept their award in Stockholm.

Zeilinger has been a Rotary member since 2001.

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