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2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for Alain Aspect

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The Physics Department of Ecole Polytechnique and Institut Polytechnique de Paris is thrilled to count among its members one of this year’s Nobel Prize winners, Prof. Alain Aspect. We most warmly congratulate Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for this wonderful recognition of their ground breaking work in quantum physics.

Alain Aspect is Director of Research Emeritus at the CNRS, holder of the Augustin Fresnel Chair at the Institute of Optics and Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique. He is an alumnus of ENSET (now ENS Paris-Saclay).  During his career he has worked on the fascinating aspects of quantum physics such as wave-corpuscle duality and entanglement. He has explored the foundations of quantum theory and their applications to the understanding of light and matter waves.

It was during his PhD under the direction of C. Imbert at the Institut d'Optique, that he carried out in the 1980s his famous experiments of violation of Bell inequalities. These experiments, rewarded by the Nobel Prize in Physics 2022, have in particular demonstrated the non-local character of entanglement.

He then worked for a few years in Claude Cohen-Tannoudji's team at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, where he studied different mechanisms of laser cooling of atoms, in particular under the limit of the recoil of a photon. Back at the Institut d'Optique in the early 1990s, he founded the Atomic Optics team which studies the wave aspect of atoms cooled and manipulated by laser. His team realized the first Bose-Einstein condensate of the metastable helium atom and developed quantum atomic optics based on the detection of individual atoms. His group also built one of the first quantum simulators by observing the Anderson localization in a gas of cold atoms. Alain Aspect is co-founder of the startup PASQAL which develops quantum simulators and computers based on Rydberg atoms.

He teaches the courses "Quantum Optics : Lasers" and "Quantum Optics : Photons", which are part of the engineering program of Ecole Polytechnique, the IP Paris Masters program in physics and the PhD Track "Quantum sciences and technologies", as well as "Elements of physics for quantum technologies" within the ARTEQ program shared between University Paris Saclay and Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

At Ecole Polytechnique, Professor Aspect has created two MOOCs explaining the fundamental concepts of quantum entanglement underlying his research :
Quantum Optics 1 : Single Photon
Quantum Optics 2 : Two Photons and More

For further information on the Nobel Prize, see the website of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences :

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  Voir également cet article de vulgarisation (rédigé par Daniel Suchet en 2014)