Three scientists have been awarded the prize for their work in quantum mechanics, which covers the world of atoms and particles.

The 10 million Swedish kronor (US$915,000) prize will be shared by four people.

It looks like the world of quantum mechanics is very strange. We are taught in school that we can use equations in physics to predict what will happen in the future if we roll a ball down a hill.

There is a difference between quantum mechanics and this. It tells us the probability of finding a particle in a certain place. It is possible for a particle to be in several places at the same time.

Albert Einstein was at a point where he was convinced that it wasn't right. Rather than outcomes being random, he thought there must be some hidden variables that influence the results of our measurement.

Physicists accepted the consequences of quantum mechanics. John Bell, a physicist from Northern Ireland, devised a test to show that the hidden variables Einstein had in mind don't exist.

According to quantum mechanics, particles can be connected so that if you manipulate one, you can also manipulate the other.

It would require faster-than-light communication between the particles if they were to communicate through hidden variables.

The properties of particles are linked regardless of how far apart they are. A light bulb emits two light particles that travel in different directions.

They can share a property, such as their polarization, if they are entangled. Bell imagined that he could compare the results of the two experiments to prove that they were intertwined.

When Bell's theory was put into practice, it was almost unthinkable. Eight years after Bell's famous thought experiment, Clauser demonstrated that light could be entangled.

There were a few different explanations for the results Clauser obtained.

If light behaved differently than the physicists thought it would be possible to explain his results. The first to challenge these explanations was Aspect.

One of the most important potential loopholes in Bell's test was ruled out by an ingenious experiment. The experiment isn't communicating with each other through hidden variables to decide the outcome.

This means they are related.

It's important to test the concepts that we think are correct in science. Aspect is one of the most important roles in doing this. Over the past century, quantum mechanics has been subjected to a lot of testing.

Quantum technology

You may be forgiven for wondering why the world behaves the way it does. There is a vision that shines here.

The industrial revolution was the result of our knowledge of classical mechanics. The digital revolution has been driven by knowledge of electronics and Semiconductor.

Understanding quantum mechanics will allow us to build devices that can do new things. It is believed that it will drive the next quantum revolution.

In ways that were not possible before, quantum entanglement can be used in computing. Sensors can detect things with greater precision if they detect small changes inentanglement.

Measurement of quantum systems can reveal the presence of the eavesdropper, which is why communicating with entangled light is important.

The way for the quantum technological revolution was paved by the work of Zeilinger.

These applications of quantum mechanics are going to happen. We have a quantum computer. The Micius satellite is able to provide secure communications. The use of quantum sensors is increasing.

The practical foundations that produce, manipulate, and testing quantumentanglement are important to the revolution it is helping to drive.

Three people are receiving an award. I began my PhD at the University of Cambridge because of their work. The goal of my project was to make a simple device that could produce light.

To simplify the equipment needed to do quantum experiments, and to allow practical devices for real-world applications, this was done. The work we did was a success and I can't believe how far the field has come since.

The Director of the Lancaster Quantum Technology Centre is a professor of physics.

Under a Creative Commons license, this article is re-posted. The original article is worth a read.