Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance” – when two photons become entangled so that they respond the same way despite being far apart.
Research on entanglement has led to even stranger things, like quantum teleportation, that can be experimentally proven. In this fall’s Hans Bethe Lecture at Cornell, physicist Anton Zeilinger will explore how quantum entanglement has been applied to cryptography, teleportation and even communication satellites. The free public lecture will be held Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall.
“Professor Zeilinger’s groundbreaking work tackles some of the most exciting frontiers in modern physics,” says Dan Ralph, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences. “His talk will be an opportunity to peer into the future and see where quantum research could take us.”
Zeilinger, along with Daniel Greenberger and Michael Horne, discovered the first multiparticle entanglement state, now called the GHZ state, which has become essential in fundamental tests of quantum mechanics and in quantum information science.
His other achievements include the first quantum teleportation experiment of an independent photon and experiments with quantum communication and teleportation between laboratories located as much as 89 miles apart, which demonstrated that quantum communication with satellites is feasible.
Zeilinger is professor of physics at the University of Vienna and senior scientist at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, of which he is president. His awards include the Wolf Prize and the King Faisal International Prize of Science. He also received the inaugural Isaac Newton Medal of the Institute of Physics (U.K.) for his “pioneering conceptual and experimental contributions to the foundations of quantum physics, which have become the cornerstone for the rapidly evolving field of quantum information.”
As part of the Hans Bethe Lecture series, Zeilinger will also present the physics colloquium, “Quantum Communication with Entangled Photons,” Monday, Nov. 28, at 4 p.m. in Schwartz Auditorium; and a Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics and Applied and Engineering Physics theory seminar, “Quantum Entanglement in Higher Dimensions,“ Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 4 p.m. in 700 Clark Hall.
The Hans Bethe Lectures, established by the Department of Physics and the College of Arts and Sciences, honor Bethe, Cornell professor of physics from 1936 until his death in 2005. Bethe won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1967 for his description of the nuclear processes that power the sun.
Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.