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Cirac, Zoller Share 2013 Wolf Prize in Physics

Photonics.com
Jan 2013
GARCHING, Germany, and INNSBRUCK, Austria, Jan. 10, 2013 — Theoretical physicists Ignacio Cirac and Peter Zoller are among eight scientists named recipients of the 2013 Wolf Prize from the Wolf Foundation in Israel.

Cirac, director of Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, and Zoller, a professor at the University of Innsbruck, received their awards “for groundbreaking theoretical contributions to quantum information processing, quantum optics and the physics of quantum gases.” They will share the $100,000 prize.

In 1995, the physicists were the first to propose a detailed concept for the realization of two-qubit-gates — the key elements in standard quantum computers — based on the use of ultracold, electromagnetically trapped ions.

In 1996, Cirac joined the Theoretical Physics Department at Leopold Franzens University Innsbruck, where he began strong scientific collaborations with Zoller. They went on to propose the use of ultracold atoms in optical lattices to simulate quantum many-body models. Several groups worldwide are now carrying out these proposed experiments., when Cirac began teaching in the theoretical physics department at Leopold Franzens University Innsbruck

The theoretical tools developed to describe many-body quantum systems may also lead to a better understanding of macroscopic phenomena such as superconductivity. Cirac and his collaborators have created new theoretical tools to characterize and quantify entanglement, and participate in the creation of a new theory of information based on quantum mechanics.

Cirac and Zoller have shared other prestigious awards, including the 2006 International Quantum Communication Award, the 2009 Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences from the Spanish BBVA Foundation and the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

The Wolf Prize, considered second in importance to the Nobel Prize, is given by the Wolf Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established in 1976 by Dr. Ricardo Wolf and his wife, Francisca. Since 1978, prizes have been awarded annually in five or six science fields. To date, a total of 253 scientists and artists from 23 countries have received the award.

The 2013 awards will be presented in May by Israel President Shimon Peres during a special Knesset ceremony in Jerusalem.

For more information, visit: www.mpq.mpg.de or www.uibk.ac.at/index.html.en

 For more on their work, see: One Step Closer to a Quantum Internet, Four-fold Quantum Memory Demonstrated, and Topological Properties Protect Quantum Memory, Computing


GLOSSARY
quantum optics
The area of optics in which quantum theory is used to describe light in discrete units or ‘quanta’ of energy known as photons. First observed by Albert Einstein’s photoelectric effect, this particle description of light is the foundation for describing the transfer of energy (i.e. absorption and emission) in light matter interaction.
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