Stephen Wiesner

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Stephen Wiesner
Stephen Wiesner.jpg
Wiesner in 2019
Born1942[citation needed]
DiedAugust 12, 2021(2021-08-12) (aged 78–79)
CitizenshipUS, Israel
Known fordiscoveries in quantum information theory, quantum money, quantum multiplexing
Parent(s)Jerome Wiesner, Laya Wiesner
AwardsRank Prize (2006) Micius Quantum Prize (2019)
Academic background
EducationBrandeis University
Alma materColumbia University
ThesisExperimental test of the rotational invariance of the weak interaction (1972)
Academic work
DisciplineQuantum information theory
Notable worksConjugate Coding, 1983 (published)

Stephen J. Wiesner (1942 – August 12, 2021)[1] was an American-Israeli research physicist, inventor and construction laborer. As a graduate student at Columbia University in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he discovered several of the most important ideas in quantum information theory, including quantum money[2] (which led to quantum key distribution), quantum multiplexing[3] (the earliest example of oblivious transfer) and superdense coding[4] (the first and most basic example of entanglement-assisted communication). Although this work remained unpublished for over a decade, it circulated widely enough in manuscript form to stimulate the emergence of quantum information science in the 1980s and 1990s.

Stephen Wiesner is the son of Jerome Wiesner[5] and Laya Wiesner. He received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University. In 2006 he shared the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics with Charles H. Bennett, and Gilles Brassard for quantum cryptography. In 2019, he received one of six Micius Quantum Prizes, along with Bennett, Brassard, Artur Ekert, Anton Zeilinger and Pan Jianwei for quantum communication.

In the 1970’s, after leaving academia, he worked in many different Silicon Valley startups while also working on weekends at a fruits and vegetable distribution co-op. During this time he became interested in Judaism and in finding solutions for solar energy, clean energy and space migration.

After moving to Israel, in addition to his religious study, Steve worked part time in construction and as a surveyor. He continued to work constantly on inventions, ideas and prototypes, mostly related to clean energy, sustainability and space travel. [6][1] He remained affiliated with the Quantum Foundations & Information Group at Tel Aviv University.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b "Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » Stephen Wiesner (1942-2021)".
  2. ^ Satell, Greg (July 10, 2016). "The Very Strange—And Fascinating—Ideas behind IBM's Quantum Computer". Forbes.
  3. ^ S.J. Wiesner, "Conjugate Coding", SIGACT News 15:1, pp. 78–88, 1983.
  4. ^ Bennett, C.; Wiesner, S. J. (1992). "Communication via one- and two-particle operators on Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen states". Phys. Rev. Lett. 69: 2881. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.69.2881.
  5. ^ How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival, by David Kaiser
  6. ^ Scott, Aaronson (2013). Quantum Computing Since Democritus. Cambridge University Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0521199568. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  7. ^ Greer Fay Cashman (2020-04-23). "Grapevine: Total separation". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2021-08-14.
  8. ^ "People@Quantum". Retrieved 2021-08-14.

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