Science journal Nature recognizes Chinese quantum pioneer

Updated 2017-12-19 17:00:17 chinadaily.com.cn
A screenshot of Nature's 10 on nature.com, which features ten people who mattered this year, including Chinese physicist Pan Jianwei.

A screenshot of Nature's 10 on nature.com, which features ten people who mattered this year, including Chinese physicist Pan Jianwei.

Pan Jianwei, a leading Chinese quantum scientist, has been listed by science magazine Nature as one of the 10 "people who mattered" in 2017.

Nature said Pan, the so-called father of quantum, "has been widely hailed for leading China to the forefront of long-distance quantum communication: harnessing quantum laws to transmit information securely".

A graduate of the University of Science and Technology of China, Pan is the chief scientist of the world's first quantum satellite project.

After launching the Micius satellite in August 2016, China became the first nation to transmit the quantum state of a photon on Earth 1,400 kilometers to a photon on an orbiting satellite, paving the way for ultrasecure, long-distance quantum communication.

"We hope to build a network of satellites and ground-based equipment that could share quantum information across the globe and ultimately build a quantum internet," Pan said in a speech at a forum in Shanghai on Monday.

In September, Pan's team used the satellite to beam photons to Beijing and Vienna, generating quantum encryption keys that allowed teams in the cities — 7,800 km apart — to video-chat with complete security.

Detecting the photons disturbs their quantum states, and hackers cannot intercept the keys without being noticed.

Nature quoted Anton Zeilinger, Pan's former doctoral adviser at the University of Vienna, on Tuesday as saying the demonstration was a "historic event".

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