One of the world’s
leading researchers in the foundations of quantum mechanics,
Anton Zeilinger is professor of physics and director of the Experimental Physics Institute at the University of Vienna and scientific director of the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. His pioneering investigations of multi-particle entanglement received international attention in 1997 when he and his colleagues at the University of Innsbruck, where he was then directing the Institute of Experimental Physics, confirmed the possibility of quantum teleportation by demonstrating, through the use of pairs of entangled photons, that the properties of one particle can be instantly transferred to another over an arbitrary distance. More recently, Dr. Zeilinger’s quantum interference experiments with “buckyballs” (molecules whose shapes resemble the geodesic domes designed by R. Buckminster Fuller), so far the largest objects to have demonstrated quantum behavior, have attracted the notice of the scientific community. By proving that clusters of more than one hundred atoms obey quantum-mechanical rules, he has extended the quantum domain further than ever before. More recently, he has become interested in tests of Leggett-type non-local theories and in fundamental phenomena in quantum entanglement of ultra-cold atoms amongst other scientific problems. Dr. Zeilinger studied at the University of Vienna and earned a Ph.D. in physics and in mathematics in 1971. After a lectureship at the Technical University of Vienna, a Fulbright fellowship at the Neutron Diffraction Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and professorships at MIT, the Technical University of Vienna, and the University of Innsbruck, he accepted his present position in 1999. Dr. Zeilinger has been a visiting professor at the University of Melbourne, the Technical University of Munich, and the Collège de France as well as an adjunct professor at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, a visiting research fellow at Merton College, Oxford University, and a senior Humboldt fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin. The former president of the Austrian Physical Society, he was named Austrian Scientist of the Year in 1996. His long list of honors include the Senior Humboldt Fellow Prize, Germany’s Order pour le Mérite, the 2000 Science Prize of the City of Vienna, the 2005 King Faisal Prize, and the Isaac Newton Medal of the British Institute of Physics. Dr. Zeilinger is a fellow of the American Physical Society, an honorary member of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, an honorary professor of the University of Science and Technology of China, and a member of the board of advisors of the John Templeton Foundation. The author of nearly 400 papers published in major scientific journals, he is the editor (with Dirk Bouwmeester and Artur Ekert) of The Physics of Quantum Information (2000) and (with Chiara Macchiavello and G. Massimo Palma) of Quantum Computation and Quantum Information Theory (2001). He is also the author of two books, both published by C.H. Beck Verlag, Einstein’s Schleier (Einstein’s Veil) in 2003, and Einstein’s Spuk in 2005. Mindful of the practical applications of his research for the processing and transmission of information, including quantum teleportation, quantum cryptography, and quantum computing, Dr. Zeilinger is also intrigued by the epistemological implications of quantum physics. He has met with spiritual leaders, including the Dalai Lama and the late Cardinal Franz Koenig, to discuss epistemological and conceptual issues and has challenged his scientific colleagues to consider which notions appearing distinct and even opposed today will turn out to be so for future generations.