Bas Hensen wins NWO award for best physics thesis (NWO)


(By: NWO) Quantum physics researcher Bas Hensen has won the 2017 NWO Physics Thesis Award with his doctoral thesis, Quantum Nonlocality with Spins in Diamond.

To reward exceptional scientific research by young researchers, in 2010 NWO inaugurated an annual NWO Physics Thesis Award. Hensen will receive the 2017 award on 23 January 2018 during the annual national physics congress, Physics@Veldhoven.

Bas Hensen wrote last year's best physics dissertation and wins the 2017 award, together with a sum of €10,000. Hensen was awarded his PhD cum laude on 29 April 2016 at TU Delft by Professor Ronald Hanson.

Hensen's thesis describes the first ever demonstration of a 'loophole-free Bell Test': a test of the fundamental principles of locality, realism and free will. Using entangled quantum particles in two diamonds located 1.3km apart, this was the first successful Bell Test to close all possible loopholes – 'back doors' that could invalidate the proof. Besides their profound philosophical implications, the results are important to the application of entanglement to non-eavesdroppable encryption in a future internet.

The selection committee was impressed both by the content and the presentation of the thesis, and attached great value to Hensen's work to explain his research work to a broader public. They also commended Hensen’s independence and leadership within his team.

In February 2017, NWO awarded Bas Hensen a Rubicon scholarship, with which Hensen is now pursuing his research career as Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at the University of New South Wales. There Hensen is working on a future quantum computer that could help us to answer questions that are beyond the reach of even the fastest conventional supercomputers, and also researching into silicon-based quantum chips.

More information

On the winning research: Bas Hensen, bashensen@gmail.com
On the Loophole-free Bell test: http://hansonlab.tudelft.nl/loophole-free-bell-test/
On the award: Sofia Derossi: s.derossi@nwo.nl