This is this blog’s monthly post which is usually about personal news. (For the actual science news click here.) But this time we break the tradition in two different ways: it’s not about personal news (I’m too lazy and don’t have much to say this time), and it’s about prizes. Prepare for a cryptic and chaotic post.
The Ph-word is a small blog about physics news, so it usually doesn’t write about the Nobel or other prizes, which is meta-news. The only exception being the IgNobel prize for reasons that should be obvious. Last couple of months though? Last couple of months were different. There are three prizes the Ph-word will write about.
Imho this year’s Nobel prize in physics was one of the most significant ever given.
A. Aspect, J. Clauser and A. Zeiliger got le prize for their “experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science”. As a reader of this blog said, finally here’s a Nobel about the nature of reality.
I regret that I’m not ready to write a real full post about this, as it’d eat up a large chunk of my time right now (and also I don’t understood everything that I’d write). For sure, you can find many articles online explaining the thing. However…
…However, nature of reality can be tricky. If you go around reading articles explaining the thing, be advised that there are for sure more than one opinions about what its implications mean.
I will add only one comment. The three laureates’ experiments and the late John Bell’s theoretical work -which was indirectly also recognized- were kind of the fools of the village when they took place some decades back. It took much to get to the mainstream and start be regarded as seriously as they ought. (Of course getting to today’s mainstream of physics means to be dragged into weird pseudoscientific constructs, but, hey, you can’t have everything.)
Then, there was this year’s beautiful Golden Goose Award (which was no doubt beautiful in the past as well but I just learnt about it now). Its purpose is to “highlight examples of seemingly obscure studies that have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impact”. And it was now given to the people involved in an accident in a lab. The lab involved a technology that when it was first developed, a few decades earlier, its pioneer “encountered many doubters who saw little value in it”. The technology was the laser and the specific accident led to the LASIK method for eye surgery.
And finally, yes, we also had this year’s IgNobel prizes. It’s hard to pick my favourite this time, but admittedly the ones for art history and for biology -which turned out very weirdly related to each other- are hard to beat.
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