Born in 1947, Alain Aspect studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan and Université d’Orsay. After a three years teaching assignment in Cameroon, he started in 1974, an experimental program on the foundations of quantum mechanics. His 1982 tests of Bell’s inequalities with pairs of entangled photons have become a classic of quantum physics. With his student Philippe Grangier, he also made fundamental experiments on the quantum properties of single photon states of the light.
From 1985 to 1992 he worked with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji at the ENS (Paris) and Collège de France, on cooling atoms with lasers (in particular “cooling below the one photon recoil”).
Since 1991, he is head of the group of Atom Optics that he has established at the Institut d’Optique, now in Palaiseau. His recent scientific production concerns mainly Bose Einstein Condensates, Atom Lasers, Quantum Atom Optics, Quantum Simulators with Ultra-Cold Atoms.
Alain Aspect has a position of CNRS senior scientist at Institut d’Optique, and is Professor at Institut d’Optique and Ecole Polytechnique.
He is member of the Académie des Sciences, of the Académie des Technologies (France), of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He has received many national and international awards, among them the Humboldt Gay-Lussac award, and honorary doctorates from several prestigious universities.