Friday, February 5, 2010

Wolf Prize for Entanglement Experiments

John Clauser conversing with Mike Nauenberg at UCSC

In how She runs the quantum world, Nature shows off Her crazy inhuman intelligence in a way that continues to baffle the physicist/monks who have learned the math and mastered the
arcane experimental manipulations necessary to "know Her" in the peculiar type of intimacy with Nature known as fundamental physics. In Her physical depths, Nature seems to take a peculiar delight in combining seemingly incompatible opposites with a subtlety and ease that no human designer could have imagined let alone accomplish. Her Universe, for instance, is based on utter randomness at the bottom governed by strict determinism at the top. Bravo! But wait, there's more. Effortlessly She combines in every one of Her creations both spread-out oscillating wavyness and minuscule, unwavering particleness, in a manner that physicists still find puzzling after more than a century of familiarity with Her habits in this regard. How does She manage to do this? As yet we really can't say.

Lately, inspired by a remarkable theorem conceived by Irish physicist John Bell, physicists have turned their attention to a behavior of Nature called "entanglement" in which She is seemingly able to combine in one phenomenon instantaneous faster-than-light influences while strictly maintaining Her coy prohibition: no faster-than-light signaling. Yes to faster-than-light and No to faster-than-light in the same package. Way to go, Mama!

I describe the origins of entanglement in Quantum Reality, and also recommend a very engaging recent book Age of Entanglement by Louisa Gilder.

Entanglement was first uncovered in quantum theory by Erwin Schrödinger in 1935 but only directly subjected to experimental test forty years later, first by John Clauser at Berkeley and later in increasing sophisticated variations by several others, notably Alain Aspect in France and Anton Zeilinger in Austria. Recently, these three men were awarded the Wolf Prize for their work in experimentally probing Nature's over-the-top style of match-making. Congratulations, guys!

Anton Zeilinger


nick herbert said...

The is not the first such honor that Clauser has received. In 1982 I was instrumental (acting for The Reality Foundation) in awarding the First Reality Prize (cash award of $6000) to John Bell and John Clauser at Esalen Institute. Bernard D'Espagnat (who recently won a Templeton Prize) took time out from the hot sulfur baths to accept the Reality Prize for John Bell.

kamagra said...

I think that the universe has always existed, it has no beginning or no end, it is pure energy as everything we see irradiates to the space vacuum, making the vacuum not empty as they tell us but full of energy, energy that continues the process of creation.

Anonymous said...

Do you know how to contact John Clauser for a photo of him for the relevant Wikipedia article? Or maybe these photos are free to use?

nick herbert said...

If you cite the source (Nick Herbert) you have my permission to use the Clauser/Naurenberg pix for Wikipedia.
Note that Clauser's story is told in Kaiser's "How the Hippies Saved Physics" and Gilder's "Age of Entanglement".

NeoLexx said...

> If you cite the source (Nick Herbert)
> you have my permission to use the
> Clauser/Naurenberg pix for Wikipedia.

That would be acceptable for FU (Fair Use) only — thus with a decreased quality and with a written rationale for each and every use.

My dream would be to illustrate all Nobel Bell's unequality checkers and so far Wikipedia has a free photo of Alain Aspect only.

May be you could release it under Creative Commons with attribution implied? (

NeoLexx said...

BTW you could release a photo of yours under the same license to illustrate an article about yourselve (

If you have any technical questions I would be glad to help.

nick herbert said...

I'm a bloke ignorant of copyright issues. Let's continue this discussion at