The Paul Ehrenfest Best Paper Award for Quantum Foundations recognizes outstanding and influential research contributions to the foundations of quantum physics. We are proud to announce the paper winner of this year.

The award, established and awarded by the Vienna Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, aims to raise awareness on the relevance of the field of quantum foundations in modern research, and to draw attention to new and interesting achievements in the field. The prize is awarded to the most significant paper in foundations of quantum physics, theoretical or experimental, published in a peer-review journal in the five calendar years prior to the prize call (i.e., this year between January 1st, 2016 and December 31st 2020). Papers from all areas in the foundations of quantum physics, and by authors of any background, are eligible for the award, see the rules.

The winner of this year Paul Ehrenfest Best Paper Award for Quantum Foundations is:



The committee awarded the prize to Xu et al. for “proving a long standing conjecture concerning the minimal construction that can be used in a proof of the Kochen-Specker theorem; namely, for proving that the 18-vector construction of Cabello, Estebaranz, and García-Alcaine employs the minimal set of ideal measurements sufficient to show that quantum mechanics cannot be reconciled with any classical models that are noncontextual.”

The 2021 selection committee:

  • Anne Broadbent, University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Mohamed Bourennane, Stockholm University, Sweden

  • Sonja Franke Arnold, University of Glasgow, Scotland

  • Jürg Fröhlich, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

  • Ämin Baumeler, Costantino Budroni, Yelena Guryanova, YIRG, IQOQI Vienna, Austria


Ämin Baumeler, Costantino Budroni and Yelena Guryanova coordinated the selection process and are looking forward to inviting you to the online public award ceremony and lecture to be announced soon here and on our Facebook page