Canada’s Top Science Prize Awarded

Quantum cryptography expert wins Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal.

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Gilles Brassard, Universite de Montreal professor and inventor of quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation, has won this year’s Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, Canada’s top science award. The award is part of an annual Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) ceremony where the agency honors the country’s top scientists.

Ranked among the most influential computer scientists in the world, Brassard is recognized as one of the earliest pioneers of quantum information science. His most significant breakthroughs are the invention of quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation, both cornerstones of the discipline.

Quantum cryptography is a method for securing communications by exploiting the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. When two particles become linked, their quantum states mirror each other even when separated by distance. Anyone measuring or tampering with one linked object unavoidably alters the other, thereby revealing the attempt to intercept the communication.

Similarly, quantum teleportation harnesses entanglement to transmit quantum information through a classical channel such as the Internet or a radio broadcast. When combined with entanglement distillation, quantum information can be transmitted faithfully over noisy quantum channels.

In addition to the Herzberg medal, Sanjeev Chandra, Thomas Coyle, Javad Mostaghimi and Valerian Pershi from the received the Brockhouse Canada Prize for their research on thermal spraying, an environmentally friendly way to apply metal or ceramic coatings that offers a low-cost method of manufacturing fuel cells and solar panels.

Christian Marois, David Lafreniere and Rene Doyon received the John C. Polanyi Award for snapping the first picture of a planetary system beyond our own solar system. Delphine Bouilly, a University of Montreal doctoral student, received the NSERC André Hamer Postgraduate Prize for her research into the electrical properties of carbon nanotubes and their suitability for use in electronics.
www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca