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The Chinese quantum prize rewards international star fields

Connection of satellite-earth with quantum satellite

Between the quantum satellite "Micius" and the quantum teleportation experiment, a satellite-to-earth connection is established. Credit: Jin Liwang / Xinhua / Alamy

The privately owned Chinese Foundation announced the first 12 winners of the Micius Quantum Award, a new prize awarded to quantum scientists from around the world.

On April 26, Micius announced winners at the 2018 and 2019 Awards, which recognize quantum computing and quantum communication. Six scientists won each year, all of whom receive a million million yuan (about $ 150,000).

Although the prize is recognized by international recipients, it celebrates a field that China is increasingly appreciating and contributing. "The prize symbolizes China's growing ambition, but also the research achievements in quantum technology," says quantum physicist Artur Ekert of the University of Oxford, UK, one of the 2019 winners, for his theoretical contributions that helped create a field of quantum cryptography. .

The winners also include other quantum science stars such as Peter Shor, a mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and David Deutsch, a physicist at the University of Oxford, UK – both writing pioneering quantum algorithms – and Mr. Pan. Jian-Wei, physicist at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei. Mr. was the chief architect of the world's first satellite of quantum communication, also called Micius, after the ancient Chinese philosopher. Eleven winners come from Europe and North America; Mr. is the only recipient of the price from China.

Supporting development

The Micius Foundation, located at USTC, was founded in 2018 with 100 million yuan in donations from private entrepreneurs.

"We see the rapid and encouraging development of quantum science around the world and we are very excited about it," says USTC physicist Luo Yi, chairman of the foundation and member of a seven-member selection committee. "We hope to be part of history."

The Shaw Award, which awards international scientists in astronomy, life sciences and mathematics, is based in Hong Kong. But prices from mainland China that celebrate scientists around the world are rare.

"I consider this prize to accept and recognize the international quantum physics community beyond national interests," says theoretical physicist Peter Zoller of the University of Innsbruck, Austria, one of the 2018 winners, for his theoretical work on quantum work. calculation. He says the prize is the recognition that Chinese quantum science is "part of an international family."

Other awards in quantum science include Rolf Landauer and Charles H Bennett Award in Quantum Computing, which is sponsored by the American Physical Society and the International Conference on Quantum Communication, Measurement and Computing Awards. Gilles Brassard, a quantum physicist at the University of Montreal, Canada, one of the Micius winners in the 2019 quantum computing category, says the Micius award is "certainly the biggest in terms of money" and "has been created to be the greatest in terms of prestige". "The future will say", he adds.

Lu Chaoyang, foundation secretary and quantum physicist at Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, was mentored and collaborated with Pan. But Luo says that this cooperation does not cause a conflict of interest in the selection of winners. "The Secretary General is in charge of the day-to-day running of the Foundation," he says. "Dr. Lu is not in the selection committee and has no right to propose, recommend and evaluate. ”

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