The three Austrian scientists received the Micius Prize in Hefei, China. The prize, awarded for the first time, is for outstanding research in quantum physics.

The Chinese Micius Quantum Foundation has awarded the first Micius Prizes, which aim to promote outstanding application-oriented research in quantum physics. As announced on April 26th, the awards went to Rainer Blatt, Anton Zeilinger and Peter Zoller, as well as to nine other physicists who have laid the foundations for new applications in quantum research. On September 18th, the prizes were presented in the Chinese city of Hefei as part of the International Conference on Emerging Quantum Technology.

Rainer Blatt received a Micius Prize for his pioneering experiments on quantum computers, and Peter Zoller, together with Juan Ignacio Cirac, for theoretical work on quantum computers. Anton Zeilinger and his former graduate student Jian-Wei Pan were recognized for their groundbreaking experiments on secure quantum communication over long distances.

Five members of the Austrian Academy of Sciences among the winners

Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller are carrying out research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) and the University of Innsbruck, and Anton Zeilinger at the OeAW and the University of Vienna. Juan Ignacio Cirac and Jian-Wei Pan are also closely associated with Austria. Both Cirac (Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) and Pan (University of Science and Technology of China) are members of the OeAW abroad. Cirac was previously a colleague of Zoller at the University of Innsbruck, and Pan was Zeilinger’s graduate student at the University of Vienna.

The prize is named after the Chinese philosopher Micius, who lived in the 5th century BC and discovered that light travels in a straight line. The prize committee consists of representatives of major and internationally renowned Chinese scientific institutions such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tsinghua University in Beijing, the University of Science and Technology of China, and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou.

All Micius award winners at a glance

Theoretical work on quantum computing:

- David Deutsch

- Peter Shor

- Juan Ignacio Cirac and Peter Zoller

Experimental work on quantum computing:

- Rainer Blatt

- David J. Wineland

Theoretical work on quantum communication:

- Stephen Wiesner

- Charles H. Bennett and Gilles Brassard

- Artur Ekert

Experimental work on quantum communication:

- Jian-Wei Pan and Anton Zeilinger