Nominations for Physics Nobel Prize-2020

Process of nomination and selection

Nobel Prizes are the Olympic gold medals of the mind and just like the Olympic gold goes to the strongest, fastest, most skilful athletes, so the Nobel also goes to strongest, fastest, most creative intellects. Nobel Prizes are awarded to individuals who deserve the very highest level of recognition for their achievements in the natural sciences, in literature, in economics, and in statesmanship and political activism promoting peace and human well-being. The prizes were established by the Swedish chemist, inventor, and entrepreneur, Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) who became immensely wealthy thanks to his invention of dynamite.

Originally, five awards were provided for out of Nobel's estate: in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. The first prizes were handed out in 1901, and they have been awarded annually ever since, except during the two world wars. In 1969, a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics was established by the Royal Bank of Sweden. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences chooses the winners of the prizes for Physics, Chemistry, and Economics; the Karolinska Institute picks the winner in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy awards the prize for literature; and the Norwegian Nobel Committee decides on the Peace Prize.

Because there is no Nobel Prize for mathematics, so the Fields Medal has been included in that discipline-which is often considered to be of equivalent prestige- for a total of seven prizes in all. The Fields Medal was established in 1936, and is awarded by the International Mathematical Union. The medal is officially known as the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, but is informally named after Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields, who was instrumental in establishing and funding the prize. The Fields Medal is awarded every four years to no more than four mathematicians below the age of 40 as of January 1 of the year of the award. Mathematicians receive this award for resolving an outstanding open problem or, in some cases, for developing powerful new methods for gaining novel insights into existing areas of mathematical research. Because recipients of the award tend to be younger than Nobel lists, hence, selection of potential Fields Medallists is based not strictly on accomplishment but also on promise of future accomplishment.

Process of nomination and selection

The Nobel Prizes are announced every year in October, and are awarded at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on December 10, except for the Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo, Norway, on the same day.The completed nomination forms must reach the Nobel Committee no later than 31 January of the following year. The Committee screens the nominations and selects the preliminary candidates. About 250–350 names are nominated as several nominators often submit the same name. Nomination to the Nobel Prize in Physics is by invitation only. The right to submit proposals for the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics shall, by statute, be enjoyed by:

  1. Swedish and foreign members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  2. Members of the Nobel Committee for Physics
  3. Nobel Laureates in Physics
  4. Permanent and assistant professors in the sciences of Physics at the universities and institutes of technology of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, and Karolin skaInstitutet, Stockholm
  5. Holders of corresponding chairs in at least six universities or university colleges selected by the Academy of Sciences with a view to ensuring the appropriate distribution over the different countries and their seats of learning; and other scientists from whom the Academy may see fit to invite proposals

The Nobel Committee for Physics sends confidential forms to persons who are competent and qualified to nominate. No one can nominate himself or herself. The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is responsible for the selection of the Nobel Laureates in Physics from among the candidates recommended by the Nobel Committee for Physics. The Nobel Committee is the working body that screens the nominations and selects the final candidates. It consists of five members, but for many years, the Committee has included adjunct members with the same voting rights as members. The complete process of nomination and selection of Noble Laureates can be nicely described as in figure.  Noble prize for Physics announcement date is Tuesday 6 October, 2020 at the earliest. Nomination and scrutiny processes might have completed by now. As usual there has always been quite a lot of speculation about these awards. Nobody really have any idea who is going to get it this year’s Noble prize for Physics. Whatever may be the outcome but it always generates curiosity to guess or predict about the possible nominations for the Noble prize. There can be a number of possibilities of nominated personalities but here are some predictions for the Physics Noble Prize-2020 which are drawn from the available resources in the internet for the interest of the readers.

Yakir Aharonov (b. 1932): Born in Haifa, in the British Mandate of Palestine (now the State of Israel), received his PhD. in 1960 from Bristol University in the U.K., where he worked with David Bohm. He has taught at several prestigious universities in Israel and the U.S., and is currently the James J. Farley Professor of Natural Philosophy at Chapman University in California. He is best known for his co-discovery of the Aharonov-Bohm effect in 1959. In this phenomenon, the complex phase of a charged particle's wave function becomes coupled to an electromagnetic potential, in spite of the particle's being confined to a region in which the EM field has a zero value.

Alain Aspect (b. 1947): Born in Agen, a town in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France graduated from a regional university and was working as a lecturer in 1982 when he led a team that performed experiments confirming the correctness of Bell's Theorem, stating that either the realism condition or the locality condition on elementary particles must fail. Aspect's experimental apparatus was of the two-channel type, in which a light source is split into two beams, which are then passed through polarisers with randomized settings. When the polarities of the two beams were subsequently measured, they were found to be statistically correlated. This finding has been interpreted to mean that the locality condition is indeed violated (quantum non-locality is real). Today, Aspect is a Research Director at the prestigious National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), in Paris, holds the Augustin Fresnel Chair at the Institutd'Optique and is also a Professor at the ÉcolePolytechnique, both in Paris.

VitalyEfimov (b. 1938):Efimov was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), in the former Soviet Union, and received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the A.F. Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute there in 1966. He relocated to the U.S. in 1989, and is currently an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. In 1970, at the Ioffe Institute, he published a landmark paper predicting that a stable quantum state of matter exists consisting of three atoms, no two of which are stable in the absence of the third. Such "Efimov states," or "Efimov trimers," have been likened to Borromean rings. Widely disbelieved at the time it was made, Efimov's prediction was confirmed in 2006 when such quantum trimers of Cesium atoms were experimentally observed at very low temperatures by a team at the University of Innsbruck, in Austria.

Mitchell J. Feigenbaum (b. 1944): Feigenbaum was born in New York City to Eastern-European Jewish immigrant parents. He was educated in Brooklyn and at the City College of New York. He received his Ph.D. in physics in 1970 from MIT. After several short-term academic appointments, he landed a job with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to study the difficult problem of turbulence in fluids. Since 1986 Feigenbaum has resided in New York City once again, where he is the Toyota Professor of Physical, Mathematical, and Computational Biology at Rockefeller University. Although he was unable to solve the general problem of turbulence in fluid dynamics (which remains unsolved to this day), the work upon which his reputation would eventually be based grew directly out of his work on turbulence at Los Alamos. In 1975, while studying the pattern of period-doubling bifurcations of the logistic map, Feigenbaum noticed that the ratio of the difference between the values at which such successive bifurcations occur tends to a constant of about 4.6692. He soon saw that this number-now known as the "first Feigenbaum constant"-should occur within a wide class of mathematical functions (nonlinear dynamical systems), presaging the transition of the system to the chaotic regime (turbulence). This was the first universality class discovered for nonlinear systems, making their study more tractable mathematically, and so more useful in practical applications.

Alan Guth (b. 1947): Guth was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1972, and has taught at Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, and Stanford. He is currently the Victor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics at MIT, his alma mater. Guth began his career working in particle physics, but soon switched to cosmology. In 1979, he began developing the theory that would become known as "cosmic inflation," and first published his work in 1981. Cosmic inflation is the idea that at a very early time (approximately 10-36 s. after the Big Bang) the universe passed through a phase of exponentially rapid expansion. Guth theorized that this expansion was driven by a positive vacuum energy density (negative vacuum pressure). In 2006, an orbiting telescope---the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)---provided observational evidence corroborating the cosmic inflation hypothesis.

LeneVestergaardHau (b. 1959): Hau was born in Denmark, and received her Ph.D. from the University of Aarhus in 1991. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University, and taught at Cambridge University, before returning to Harvard, where she is now the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics. In 1999, Hau's team at Harvard was able to slow a beam of light down to about 17 meters per second by manipulating the photons using ultra-cold superfluids and Bose-Einstein condensates. In 2001, they succeeded in halting a beam of light altogether, then releasing it. In more recent work, Hau has experimented with encrypting and transmitting information with these techniques. Though it remains highly experimental, her work has the potential to revolutionize all forms of communication and information processing, perhaps even providing the basis for quantum computation.

Lev P. Pitaevskii (b. 1933):Pitaevskii (or Pitayevsky) was born in Saratov, in the former Soviet Union. He graduated from the university there in 1955. In 1958, he entered the prestigious Institute for Physical Problems in Moscow (later, the Kapitsa Institute), where he studied under the celebrated physicist Lev D. Landau. He currently teaches at the Kapitsa Institute and at the University of Trento, in Italy. In 1961, he published an equation (independently discovered the same year by Eugene P. Gross), which has become the standard formalism for treating Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC), whose existence had been predicted by S.N. Bose and Albert Einstein in the 1920s. A BEC is a very-low-temperature state of matter in which distinct bosons (elementary or composite particles having integer spin) merge, occupying the same quantum state. In 1995, the first gaseous BEC, consisting of rubidium atoms, was observed experimentally at the University of Colorado-Boulder.


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