Anton Zeilinger elected to lead as new President of the Austrian National Academy of Sciences
Kurier.at Anton Zeilinger has been elected to lead as the new President for the Austrian National Academy of Sciences. He will begin serving in the position on July 1st of this year. 

Anton Zeilinger’s achievements have been most succinctly described in his citation for the Isaac Newton Medal of the Institute of Physics (UK), "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. Anton is a pioneer in the field of quantum information and the foundations of quantum mechanics. He and his colleagues have demonstrated many world's-first achievements in the field, including quantum teleportation, entanglement swapping, dense coding, entanglement-based quantum cryptography, one-way quantum computation, multipartite quantum entanglement, and blind quantum computation. In addition, he has made many important contributions to the conceptual and experimental foundations of quantum mechanics, particularly in the areas of quantum entanglement and macroscopic quantum mechanics."

I lived and worked with Anton's group on two consecutive Austrian National Research Fellowships for my research proposals to "Quantum Mechanics in Higher Dimensional Hilbert Spaces," and "What is Real in the Quantum World?" at the Austrian International Akademie, Traunkirchen, with Anton Zeilinger, Marcus AspelmeyerCaslav Brukner, Rupert Ursin, William Wootters, Christopher Fuchs, Daniel Greenberger and Michael Horne.

Photos of the picturesque setting, and of the idyllic, crystalline lake in Traunkirchen, are available online here on Flickr.com.

Anton Zeilinger Selected to Serve as New Academy President

For some, he is the Austrian superstar of science. For others, because of his frequent public presence, he can be seen as a self-promoter. This much is not in dispute: The experimental physicist Anton Zeilinger (67) is one of those rare domestic scientists whose work has drawn the attention of the elite of the international scientific community. He sees science as few others do, through vivid and intricate experimental work—yet he taps into understandable language and easily reaches a lay audience. Now he will move to the top of the venerable Academy of Sciences (AAS) to convey his ideas as its chief.

"Mr. Beam," the "Quantum Pope," the "Pop Star of Science," "the Warlock from Vienna," as Zeilinger is sometimes called, with his graying beard and curly locks as a perfection of the stereotype of a scientist, enjoys widespread popularity despite sometimes facing criticisms. "The main reason he can convey such youthful enthusiasm is because he is an enthusiast himself."

Publicity never seems a motive for Zeilinger's work, recipient of the Club of Education and Science Journalists Award in 1996 for "Scientist of the Year". His motive is his enthusiasm for his subject. And so, as the award-winning physicist taught quantum physics to the Dalai Lama, discussed the meaning of life with Nobel laureates, and has always been set for even higher (Nobel Prize) ordinations. All this has been accomplished in a relatively short time—just looking back 15 years, when the physicist in 1997, with his teleportation experiments, made the breakthrough in the headlines through "beamed" quantum teleportation.

Research Timeline

Anton Zeilinger was born in May 20, 1945 in Ried, Upper Austria. He studied physics and mathematics at the University of Vienna, yet with "not a single hour attended to a lecture on quantum physics." He had to acquire his knowledge from books, as he writes in his book "Einstein's Veil" (2003). His PhD was awarded at the Atomic Institute of Helmut Rauch, with the "father of quantum optics in Austria," where he worked after graduation (1971) as an assistant. This period also saw his first research visits abroad, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the late Nobel laureate Clifford G. Shull's lab (1994).

Anton made several other trips abroad before he returned to his homeland in 1990 as professor of the University of Innsbruck. In 1998 he moved to Vienna University, and since then there, to the Institute for Experimental Physics. In 2003 he also founded, together with the University of Innsbruck physicists groups led by Rainer Blatt, Rudolf Grimm and Hans Briegel, the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI), of which he also serves as the scientific director. Zeilinger also leads as physics Dean for the University of Vienna.

Zeilinger appears as a gifted experimenter, succeeding in sophisticated attempts to uncover altogether new relationships in Nature, and to confirm or disprove current theories, where he also repeatedly ventures back to the basics and the foundational principles of quantum physics. He works, and leads, in one of the most exciting and fastest growing areas of physics today: quantum technology. 

1 comment:

  1. Discover Interview: Anton Zeilinger Dangled From Windows, Teleported Photons, and Taught the Dalai Lama
    What started out as totally intellectual, impractical experiments could help pave the way for a revolution in computing.

    In Anton Zeilinger’s dream world, superfast quantum computers will process data using single atoms instead of silicon chips. Such devices will have fantastic powers, including the ability to transpose matter into packets of information and teleport it through space. But to Zeilinger, even that dream is not exotic enough. When science is truly new, he says, the technology that results from it “cannot be imagined” in advance.

    How did you come to view the world in such an unusual way?
    I grew up after World War II in Austria, so we were very poor. We lived in the Soviet zone, which meant housing was scarce. We were put up on the third floor of a castle in a small village. It had these huge rooms, and I liked to look out the window. So my parents got these bars on the window, and they tied me to them with a harness. I would sit there, hanging out of the window for hours just watching and observing cows and people below. The villagers still talk about the strange child hanging from the castle window watching everything.