The Center for Quantum Information and Quantum Control (the palindromic CQIQC) recently established the John Stewart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and their Applications. And the first winner is (opening the envelope, wondering whether he will find a dead or live cat inside)….Professor Nicolas Gisin from the Université de Genève:

Nicolas Gisin, Professor of Physics at the Université de Genève, is a true visionary and a leader among his peers. He was among the first to recognize the importance of Bell’s pioneering work, and has throughout his career made a series of remarkable contributions, both theoretical and experimental, to the foundations of quantum mechanics and to their application to practical quantum cryptography systems. His work on the latter, for instance, was highlighted in the February 2003 issue of MIT’s Technology Review as one of the “10 Emerging Technologies that will Change the World”.

We award the inaugural John Stuart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and their Applications to Prof. Gisin in recognition of two of his recent contributions – it should come as no surprise that they span theory as well as experiment.

The award cites two of Prof. Gisin’s recent pieces of work, one on establishing the security of key distributions schemes like quantum cryptography using only experimental observation of the devices and not the assumptions of an underlying theory (like quantum theory.) See quant-ph/0510094. The second is for his work on some impressive Bell inequality tests, including, “Spacelike separation in a Bell test assuming gravitationally induced collapses”, arXiv:0803.2425, which shows that some theories in which collapse of the wavefunction is induced by gravity are not experimentally supported.

Congrats to Prof. Gisin.