Three scientists jointly won this year's Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their work on quantum information science that has significant applications, for example in the field of encryption.
Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John F. Clauser, and Austrian Anton Zeilinger discovered how photons can be "entangled" even when far apart.
According to Eva Olsson, a member of the Nobel committee, "quantum information science is a vibrant and quickly evolving discipline."
It could have wide-ranging effects on fields including quantum computing, secure information transfer, and sensing technology.
Zeilinger admitted that he was "still kind of astonished" to learn that he had won the award when speaking over the phone to a news conference after the announcement.
Clauser, Aspect, and Zeilinger have been mentioned in relation to the Nobel Prize for more than ten years. They were awarded the Wolf Prize in 2010, an honor regarded as a possible predecessor to the Nobel.
The Nobel committee stated that Clauser, 79, transformed the 1960s-era quantum ideas into an actual experiment.
While Zeilinger revealed a phenomena known as quantum teleportation that effectively enables information to be transported over distances, Aspect, 75, was able to close a gap in those ideas.
Beginning Monday, a series of Nobel Prize announcements saw Swedish scientist Svante Paabo get the prize in medicine for discovering Neanderthal DNA's hidden information that was crucial to understanding our immune system.
On Wednesday, they continue with chemistry, and on Thursday, they study literature. The economics prize will be awarded on October 10, while the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday.
The cash awards for the prizes total 10 million Swedish kronor, or roughly $900,000. They will be distributed on December 10. The funds originate from a gift made by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor who founded the award and died in 1895.