The most expensive science award this year went to the inventors of the ultra-precision atomic clockThe winner of the most expensive science award in the field of Physics became the foundation this year.
Hidetoshi Yatori and Jun Ye won the "Award for Optical Lattice Clock" Achieve Breakthrough Prize in Basic Physics; A type of atomic clock that allows detailed experiments with the fundamental laws of nature. The United States is cooperating. The two researchers worked independently and a $ 3 million prize was shared between them. If this new clock operates for 30 billion years, more than twice the age of the universe, it will have an error of less than 1 second. Quantum jumps generated by electrons work in energetic atoms. "One second" is formally defined as 9,192,631,770 irradiation cycles that insert electrons into a cesium atom to create a quantum leap.
Atomic clocks initially emit microwave radiation They were used to induce these mutations. But with the replacement of the light beam, which has frequencies about 100,000 times higher than the microwave, progress was made in making these clocks. These higher frequencies, like older clocks with faster pendulums, increase timing accuracy.
Measuring higher frequencies was much more difficult. The problem was more or less solved with the "Optical Frequency Comb" technology developed by John Hall and Theodor Hnsch, winners of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics.
A graphic design of an optical grid that is actually a network
of light waves for It is considered trapping atoms.
Credit: Joint Quantum Institute
Atoms with optical frequencies use more strontium atoms than cesium. Thus, both researchers, while familiar with the method of inhibiting strontium atoms, kept them calm so that they could be measured. To do this, they used "optical lattice," which is a standing wave of a laser beam that creates a kind of egg comb that traps the holes in those atoms. "It 's almost like a It is a stretch beam in science-fiction that shines from a UFO and attracts travelers. You place a tensile beam in the middle of the vacuum chamber and can hold the atoms suspended by light. "It compresses the atoms, but how can we be sure that they are telling the truth?" This is the same possible problem that Yaturi and Yi solved by choosing the right wavelength for the tensile beam. 's noted: The energy gap between the two does not create the quantum states that were so important in measuring time.
According to the award organizers, applications The potential of this technology is numerous and diverse. Optical grid clocks, for example, can greatly improve the accuracy of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and other satellite navigation networks, allowing them to steer deeper space probes more accurately.
This technology could also test new relativity theories. Make it possible for Einstein to study closely the expansion of gravitational time and other related effects. Mesh clocks can also help detect gravitational waves and alert researchers to small temporal changes caused by these space-time waves.
The relationship between gravity and time means that the technology could help researchers Assist in tracking volcanic and seismic events on Earth and discovering hidden oceans in alien worlds. According to Yi, optical mesh clocks can even be effective in searching for dark matter. "Dark matter must interact with ordinary matter in a way other than gravitational physics," he said. We want to be able to see very weak signatures of a possible dark matter component with ordinary matter we know on Earth during slow or fast hours when dark matter is in effect. So we are preparing experiments in this area. Facebook co-founders Priscilla Chan, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Yuri Milner and Julia Milner . The prize, worth almost three times the Nobel Prize, is the most expensive prize in science. According to the delegates, this award aims to raise the cultural level of science and technology and inspire children to continue their activities in these fields.
This year, the $ 3 million Progress Award in Life Sciences was awarded to a renowned RNA engineer who has helped rapidly develop Covid-19 vaccines. One winner was nominated for Progress in Mathematics, and Yaturi and Yi jointly won the Prize for Progress in Fundamental Physics for the Optical Grid Atomic Clock.
Also awarded the work to early researchers. One of these awards was given to four scientists for supervising and creating electromagnetic observations of gravitational wave sources and supervising the extraction of complete information from the first observed collision of two neutron stars. In total, the foundation will award $ 15.75 million this year.
Cover Photo: Simulation of gravitational waves created by the merger of two black holes as one of the applications of the optical mesh atomic clock that won this year's Progress Award. Credit: C. Henze/NASA Ames Research Center