OECD Forum Speakers Series: A new quantum revolution


Alain Aspect, Professor of Physics, Institut d'Optique & École Polytechnique Palaiseau;
Senior Scientist, CNRS and 2013 Balzan Prize-winner in Quantum Information

“A new quantum revolution:
from the Einstein-Bohr debate to Quantum Information”

Friday, 23 May 2014, 12:30 – 14:00
OECD Conference Centre, Auditorium

As part of the OECD Forum Speakers Series, Alain Aspect, Professor of Physics, Institut d'Optique & École Polytechnique Palaiseau; Senior Scientist, CNRS and 2013 Balzan Prize-winner in Quantum Information, delivered a presentation entitled “A new quantum revolution: from the Einstein-Bohr debate to Quantum Information”.

Prof. Aspect explored the history of quantum revolutions and the possibility of a second quantum revolution, based on Albert Einstein's discovery, in 1935, of a new quantum concept: entanglement. Its interpretation prompted a hot debate with Niels Bohr, which was settled half a century later, when experimentalists could test the famous Bell's inequalities, and show that the revolutionary concept of entanglement is indeed a reality.

Quantum information has emerged as a new field of research, where one uses quantum bits, the so-called “qubits”. The entanglement of “qubits” enables new methods for the processing and transmission of information. The practical implementation of such concepts on a large scale might revolutionise society, as did the laser, the transistor and integrated circuits – some of the most striking outcomes of the first quantum revolution, which began in the 20th century.

Prof. Aspect’s career includes École Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS Cachan), Institut d'Optique and Université d'Orsay, the Collège de France, and the CNRS at the Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l’Institut d'Optique. He has served as a volunteer, teaching in Yaoundé (Cameroon), and he is a member of numerous scientific academies, including the Académie des Sciences, the Académie des Technologies, the National Academy of Sciences USA, and 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 (US), the Albert Einstein medal (Switzerland), the Niels Bohr gold medal (Denmark) and the Wolf prize in Physics.

The Balzan Prize 2013 was awarded "For his pioneering experiments which led to a striking confirmation of Quantum Mechanics as opposed to local hidden-variable theories. His work has opened the way to the experimental control of entangled quantum states, the essential element of Quantum Information Processing".