Artur Ekert

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Artur Konrad Ekert
Artur Ekert 2011.jpg
Artur Ekert
Born (1961-09-19) 19 September 1961 (age 54)
Wrocław, Poland
Residence United Kingdom
Nationality British
Fields Physics
Institutions Merton College
Oxford University
National University of Singapore
Alma mater Jagiellonian University
University of Oxford
Doctoral advisor Peter Knight
David Deutsch
Keith Burnett
Doctoral students Patrick Hayden
Michele Mosca
Willem van Dam
Known for Quantum cryptography
Notable awards Maxwell Medal and Prize (1995)
Hughes Medal (2007)

Artur Ekert FRS (born 19 September 1961 in Wrocław, Poland) is a Professor of Quantum Physics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, and a Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore and also the Director of CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies). His research interests extend over most aspects of information processing in quantum-mechanical systems, with a focus on quantum communication and quantum computation. He is best known as one of the inventors of quantum cryptography.


Artur Ekert studied physics at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and at the University of Oxford. Between 1987 and 1991 he was a D.Phil. student at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. In his doctoral thesis (Oxford, 1991) he showed how quantum entanglement and non-locality can be used to distribute cryptographic keys with perfect security. In 1991 he was elected a Junior Research Fellow and subsequently (1994) a Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford. At the time he established the first research group in quantum cryptography and computation, based in the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford. Subsequently it evolved into the Centre for Quantum Computation, now based at DAMTP in Cambridge.

Between 1993 and 2000 he held a position of the Royal Society Howe Fellow. In 1998 he was appointed a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Keble College, Oxford. From 2002 until early 2007 he was the Leigh-Trapnell Professor of Quantum Physics at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge University and a Professorial Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. Since 2007 he has been a Professor of Quantum Physics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, and a Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore.

He has worked with and advised several companies and government agencies. He has served on several professional advisory boards and is one the trustees of The Croucher Foundation.[1]


Artur Ekert's research extends over most aspects of information processing in quantum-mechanical systems, with a focus on quantum cryptography and quantum computation. Building on the idea of quantum non-locality and Bell's inequalities [2] he introduced entanglement-based quantum key distribution in his 1991 paper [3] which generated a spate of new research that established a vigorously active new area of physics and cryptography. It is one of the most cited papers in the field and was chosen by the editors of the Physical Review Letters as one of their “milestone letters”, i.e. papers that made important contributions to physics, announced significant discoveries, or started new areas of research. His subsequent work with John Rarity and Paul Tapster, from the Defence Research Agency (DRA) in Malvern, resulted in the proof-of-principle experimental quantum key distribution, introducing parametric down-conversion, phase encoding and quantum interferometry into the repertoire of cryptography.[4] He and collaborators were the first to develop the concept of a security proof based on entanglement purification.[5]

Ekert and colleagues have made a number of contributions to both theoretical aspects of quantum computation and proposals for its experimental realisations. These include proving that almost any quantum logic gate operating on two quantum bits is universal,[6] proposing one of the first realistic implementations of quantum computation, e.g. using the induced dipole-dipole coupling in an optically driven array of quantum dots,[7] introducing more stable geometric quantum logic gates,[8] and proposing "noiseless encoding", which became later known as decoherence free subspaces.[9] His other notable contributions include work on quantum state swapping, optimal quantum state estimation and quantum state transfer. With some of the same collaborators, he has written on connections between the notion of mathematical proofs and the laws of physics.[10] He has also contributed semi-popular writing on the history of science.[11]

Honours and awards[edit]

For his discovery of quantum cryptography he was awarded the 1995 Maxwell Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics and the 2007 Hughes Medal by the Royal Society. He is also a co-recipient of the 2004 European Union Descartes Prize.

In 2016 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Board of Trustees". Croucher Foundation. 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Bell, John Stuart (2004). Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52338-9. 
  3. ^ Ekert, Artur (1991). Correlations in Quantum Optics (Thesis). Oxford University.  Ekert, Artur (5 August 1991). "Quantum cryptography based on Bell's theorem". Physical Review Letters (American Physical Society) 67: 661–663. Bibcode:1991PhRvL..67..661E. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.67.661. 
  4. ^ Ekert, Artur; Rarity, John G.; Tapster, Paul R.; Palma, G. Massimo (31 August 1992). "Practical quantum cryptography based on two-photon interferometry". Physical Review Letters (American Physical Society) 69: 1293–1295. Bibcode:1992PhRvL..69.1293E. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.69.1293. 
  5. ^ Deutsch, David; Ekert, Artur; Jozsa, Richard; Macchiavello, Chiara; Popescu, Sandu; Sanpera, Anna (23 September 1996). "Quantum privacy amplification and the security of quantum cryptography over noisy channels". Physical Review Letters (American Physical Society) 77: 2818–2821. arXiv:quant-ph/9604039. Bibcode:1996PhRvL..77.2818D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.77.2818. 
  6. ^ Deutsch, David; Barenco, Adriano; Ekert, Artur (8 June 1995). "Universality in quantum computation". Proceedings of the Royal Society A 449 (1937): 669–677. doi:10.1098/rspa.1995.0065. 
  7. ^ Barenco, Adriano; Deutsch, David; Ekert, Artur; Jozsa, Richard (15 May 1995). "Conditional quantum dynamics and logic gates". Physical Review Letters (American Physical Society) 74: 4083–4086. arXiv:quant-ph/9503017. Bibcode:1995PhRvL..74.4083B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.74.4083. 
  8. ^ Jones, Jonathan A.; Vedral, Vlatko; Ekert, Artur; Castagnoli, Giuseppe (24 February 2000). "Geometric quantum computation using nuclear magnetic resonance". Nature 403: 869–871. arXiv:quant-ph/9910052. Bibcode:2000Natur.403..869J. doi:10.1038/35002528. 
  9. ^ Palma, G. Massimo; Suominen, Kalle-Antti; Ekert, Artur (8 March 1996). "Quantum computers and dissipation". Proceedings of the Royal Society A 452 (1946): 567–584. arXiv:quant-ph/9702001. Bibcode:1996RSPSA.452..567P. doi:10.1098/rspa.1996.0029. 
  10. ^ Deutsch, David; Ekert, Artur; Lupacchini, Rossella (September 2000). "Machines, logic and quantum physics". The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic (Cambridge University Press) 6 (3): 265–283. doi:10.2307/421056. 
  11. ^ Ekert, Artur (August 2008). "Complex and unpredictable Cardano". International Journal of Theoretical Physics (Springer) 47 (8): 2101–2119. arXiv:0806.0485. Bibcode:2008IJTP...47.2101E. doi:10.1007/s10773-008-9775-1. 
  12. ^ "Artur Ekert biography". Royal Society. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 

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