The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences goes, in this twelfth edition, to Charles Bennett, Gilles Brassard, and Peter Shor for their outstanding contributions to the field of quantum computation and communication.
Shor discovered that quantum computers could factorize integers much faster than any supercomputer, therefore compromising the security of conventional cryptographic schemes. He also discovered quantum error correction, an essential requirement for enabling and scaling quantum computations.
Bennett and Brassard are recognized for the invention of quantum cryptography. This allows encoding and transmitting messages using the laws of quantum physics in a way that makes them unreadable to eavesdroppers, even if they had quantum computational resources.
The work of the laureates spans multiple disciplines and brings together concepts from mathematics, physics, and computer science. Their ideas are playing a key role in the development of quantum technologies for communication and computation.