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Alain Aspect (26341660894) (cropped)

Alain Aspect (French: [aspɛ] (listen); born 15 June 1947[3]) is a French physicist noted for his experimental work on quantum entanglement.[4][5][6][7]

Aspect was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger, "for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science".[8]

Main article: Aspect's experiment

Aspect is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS Cachan, today part of Paris-Saclay University).[2] He passed the agrégation in physics in 1969 and received his master's degree from the École supérieure d'optique (later known as Institut d'Optique Graduate School) of Université d'Orsay (later known as Université Paris-Sud). He then did his national service, teaching for three years in Cameroon.[9]

In the early 1980s, while working on his PhD (doctorat d'État) thesis,[10] he performed the Bell test experiments that showed that Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen's putative reductio ad absurdum of quantum mechanics, namely that it implied 'ghostly action at a distance', did in fact appear to be realized when two particles were separated by an arbitrarily large distance (see EPR paradox and Aspect's experiment). A correlation between the particles' wave functions remains, as long as they were once part of the same undisturbed wave function before one of the child particles was measured. He obtained his doctorate in 1983 from Université Paris-Sud (today part of Paris-Saclay University).[11]

Aspect also received an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2008.[12]

Aspect's experiments, following the first experiment of Stuart Freedman and John Clauser in 1972, were considered to provide further support to the thesis that Bell's inequalities are violated in its CHSH version, in particular by closing a form of the locality loophole. However, his results were not completely conclusive since there were loopholes that allowed for alternative explanations that comply with local realism.[13]

After his work on Bell's inequalities, Aspect turned toward studies of laser cooling of neutral atoms, and Bose–Einstein condensates.[14]
Picture of Alain Aspect
Aspect at the École Polytechnique (Polytechnic Institute of Paris).

Aspect was deputy director of the French "grande école" École supérieure d'optique until 1994. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Technologies, and a professor at the École Polytechnique.[2]
Alain Aspect at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 2013.
Alain Aspect at Paris-Saclay University, October 4, 2022.

Aspect was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2015.[15] His certificate of election reads

For his fundamental experiments in quantum optics and atomic physics. Alain Aspect was the first to exclude subluminal communication between the measurement stations in experimental demonstrations that quantum mechanics invalidates separable hidden-variable theories and the first to demonstrate experimentally the wave–particle duality of single photons. He co-invented the technique of velocity-selective coherent population trapping, was the first to compare the Hanbury Brown-Twiss correlations of fermions and bosons under the same conditions, and the first to demonstrate Anderson localization in an ultra-cold atom system. His experiments illuminate fundamental aspects of the quantum-mechanical behaviour of single photons, photon pairs and atoms.[1]

In 2005 he was awarded the gold medal of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, where he is Research Director. The 2010 Wolf Prize in physics was awarded to Aspect, Anton Zeilinger and John Clauser. In 2013 Aspect was awarded both the Niels Bohr International Gold Medal and the UNESCO Niels Bohr Medal. In 2011, he was assigned the Medal of the City of Paris. In 2013, he was also awarded the Balzan Prize for Quantum Information Processing and Communication. In 2014, he was named Officer of the Legion of Honour.[16]

Asteroid 33163 Alainaspect, discovered by astronomers at Caussols in 1998, was named after him.[17] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 8 November 2019 (M.P.C. 118220).[18]

Aspect was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics alongside John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger "for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell's inequalities and pioneering quantum information science".[8]
Honours and awards

Accolades received by Aspect include the following:[19]

2014: Officier of the Legion of Honour (France)
2011: Medal of the City of Paris

Alain Aspect at the Balzan Prize ceremony (Bern, November 15, 2013).

2022: Nobel Prize in Physics (with John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger)
2013: Balzan Prize
2013: UNESCO Niels Bohr Medal
2013: Frederic Ives Medal / Quinn Prize - Awards
2012: Albert Einstein Medal
2011: Herbert Walther award
2010: Wolf Prize
2005: CNRS Gold Medal
1999: Gay-Lussac–Humboldt Prize
1991: Fernand Holweck Medal and Prize
1987: International Commission for Optics Award
1985: Commonwealth Award for Science and Invention
1983: Prix Servant


Member of the Academia Europaea
Member of the French Academy of Sciences
Member of the French Academy of Technologies
Foreign Member of the Royal Society
Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences
Associate Member of the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium
Corresponding member abroad of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
Fellow of Optica

Honorary degrees

2006: Université de Montréal
2008: Australian National University
2008: Heriot-Watt University
2010: University of Glasgow
2011: University of Haifa
2018: City University of Hong Kong


"Certificate of Election: EC/2015/48: Aspect, Alain". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 8 July 2019.
"Alain Aspect". Université Paris-Saclay. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
"The Nobel Prize in Physics 2022". NobelPrize.org. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
Aspect, Alain; Grangier, Philippe; Roger, Gérard (12 July 1982). "Experimental Realization of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen-BohmGedankenexperiment: A New Violation of Bell's Inequalities". Physical Review Letters. American Physical Society (APS). 49 (2): 91–94. Bibcode:1982PhRvL..49...91A. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.49.91. ISSN 0031-9007.
Aspect, Alain; Dalibard, Jean; Roger, Gérard (20 December 1982). "Experimental Test of Bell's Inequalities Using Time- Varying Analyzers". Physical Review Letters. American Physical Society (APS). 49 (25): 1804–1807. Bibcode:1982PhRvL..49.1804A. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.49.1804. ISSN 0031-9007.
Aspect, Alain (2007). "Quantum mechanics: To be or not to be local". Nature. 446 (7138): 866–867. Bibcode:2007Natur.446..866A. doi:10.1038/446866a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 17443174. S2CID 4397846.
"Alain Aspect's Curriculum Vitae, Updated March 2012" (PDF). Academia Europaea. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
"The Nobel Prize in Physics 2022". Nobel Prize (Press release). The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences . 4 October 2022. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
"Alain Aspect, prix Nobel de physique 2022". cnrs.fr.
"CV". Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
"Qui est Alain Aspect, ce chercheur français co-lauréat du prix Nobel de physique ?". radiofrance.fr. 4 October 2022.
"Annual Review 2008: Principal's Review". www1.hw.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
Reference missing
"Alain Aspect, prix Nobel de physique 2022". cnrs.fr.
"Alain Aspect | Royal Society".
"Alain Aspect nommé membre honoraire d'Optica". cnrs.fr.
"(33163) Alainaspect". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
"MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 20 November 2019.

"Alain Aspect". ae-info.org.

Lévy statistics and laser cooling : how rare events bring atoms to rest. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2002. ISBN 0511016018. (co-author)
Bell, J. S. (2004). Speakable and unspeakable in quantum mechanics : collected papers on quantum philosophy (Rev. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521818621. (Introduction)
Grynberg, Gilbert. (2010). Introduction to quantum optics : from the semi-classical approach to quantized light. Aspect, Alain., Fabre, Claude. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780511789724.

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