Today, in Jerusalem, Gilles Brassard, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operational research at Université de Montréal, and Charles H. Bennett, a researcher at the IBM Research Lab in New York, received the Wolf Prize in Physics, awarded by the Wolf Foundation, for their remarkable work in founding and advancing the field of quantum cryptography.
Gilles Brassard obtained a PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University in 1979. He has been a professor at Université de Montréal since that time, and holds the Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information Science since 2001. He is also a member of the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) and the Institut transdisciplinaire d'information quantique (INTRIQ), two strategic clusters funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT).
Since the beginning of his career, Professor Brassard has had a passionate interest in all aspects of quantum computing, a field he largely contributed to creating by combining the principles of quantum mechanics and computer science. He invented quantum cryptography, which allows the secure transmission of data, and quantum teleportation, for which he was predicted to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics. A video produced by Québec Science and the Fonds de recherche du Québec as part of the “Que sont devenues nos découvertes de jadis?” series tells the story of his discovery of quantum teleportation together with Claude Crépeau from McGill University, which was named as one of the 10 discoveries of the year in 1993 by Québec Science.
The recipient of 30 honours and distinctions, including the Prix Marie-Victorin, the Killam Prize, the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering and the Rank Prize, Gilles Brassard holds three honorary doctorate degrees, is an Officer of the Order of Canada and the Ordre national du Québec, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of London.
“Gilles Brassard is the first Canadian to receive the Wolf Prize in Physics, considered one of the most prestigious awards after the Nobel Prize. Presenting the recipients of international awards to the general public and the upcoming generation of researchers contributes to the recognition of the excellence of the science carried out in Québec. I would like us to be as proud of our scientists as we are of our artists and athletes.”
– Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Québec
“It is essential to support our research elite in physics, mathematics and computer science, of which Gilles Brassard is a member, because we cannot be certain today what use their achievements will have tomorrow. I am proud to see such a rigorous and visionary researcher, who manipulates the most complex theoretical concepts with ease, and even joy, receive this prestigious international distinction. I am also honoured to count Gilles among the recipients of the Prix d’excellence du FRQNT.”
– Maryse Lassonde, Scientific Director, FRQNT
About the Wolf Prizes
Since 1978, four Wolf Prizes have been awarded annually in the Sciences (chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics) and one in the Arts. The Wolf Prizes recognize outstanding achievements of scientists and artists “in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples, irrespective of nationality, race, color, religion, sex or political views.” In 40 years, more than 330 scientists and artists from 45 countries have been awarded a Wolf Prize.
Director of Communications and Knowledge Mobilization
Fonds de recherche du Québec