Mar 172009
Bernard d’Espagnat, a French physicist and philosopher of science whose explorations of the philosophical implications of quantum physics have opened new vistas on the definition of reality and the potential limits of knowable science, has won the 2009 Templeton Prize.
From the mid-1960s through the early 1980s, d’Espagnat, 87, was a philosophical visionary in the physics research community. He played a key role during this revolutionary period of exploration and development in quantum mechanics, specifically on experiments testing the “Bell’s inequalities” theorem. Definitive results published in 1981 and 1982 verified that Bell’s inequalities were violated in the way quantum mechanics predicts, leading to a clear confirmation of the phenomenon of “non-local entanglement,” which in turn was an important step in the later development of “quantum information science,” a flourishing contemporary domain of research combining physics, information science, and mathematics.