Lisburn family celebrates

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John Stewart Bell has had a street named in his honour at a ceremony at Belfast Metropolitan College with the accolade witnessed by many local members of his family including former Lisburn mayor Billy Bell and sister Ruby.

Lagan Valley MLA, Basil McCrea MLA led the official proceedings at the college, explaining the significance of Mr. Bell’s achievements and the vital role of science in our society.

NI21 Party Leader, Basil McCrea said: “Not many people know of the achievements of John Stewart Bell, but he was a world class physicist who amongst other things proved Einstein wrong.

“His family will be justifiably proud of him and I delighted he has received this accolade.

“Perhaps Lisburn council should join the City of Toronto and Switzerland in recognising him.

“Bell formulated a theorem, today considered to be one of the most significant developments in quantum theory, and before he passed away he had been nominated for a Nobel Prize.

“He was expected to win the Nobel Prize and today he is regarded as one of the top ten physicists of the twentieth century by the Institute of Physics.

“His sister Ruby, who lives in Lisburn, told me that while her brother is known internationally as John Bell, he was always called Stewart by the family.

“People who work on the foundations of quantum mechanics know of John Stewart Bell’s work, but as a Nobel Prize winner he would rightly have been remembered and revered by everyone.”

John Stewart Bell, who was born at Tate’s Avenue in 1928, revolutionised the understanding of quantum theory and the nature of the physical universe, with the publication of his proof of non-locality on November 4, 1964.

Einstein disliked quantum mechanics and in the late 1930s he said it required ‘spooky actions at a distance’.

For several decades arguments continued on whether quantum mechanics is indeed a complete description of reality, until John Stewart Bell entered the argument.

In the 1970s experiments began to test Bell’s theorem, confirming quantum theory and establishing the base for a major area of science and technology.

Today it has important applications in areas such as quantum cryptography, quantum computing and quantum teleportation.