Stockholm, Oct 9 : Frenchman Serge Haroche and American David Wineland have won the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics for inventing and developing methods for observing tiny quantum particles without destroying them.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two scientists Tuesday “for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.”
Haroche and Wineland, both 68, work in the field of quantum optics, which deals with the interaction between light and matter.
“Their ground-breaking methods have enabled this field of research to take the very first steps towards building a new type of super fast computer based on quantum physics,” the academy said.
“The research has also led to the construction of extremely precise clocks that could become the future basis for a new standard of time.”
This year’s Nobel Prize announcements got under way Monday with the medicine prize going to stem cell pioneers John Gurdon of Britain and Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka. Each award is worth 8 million kronor, or about $1.2 million.
Recent winners of the Nobel Prize in physics, and their research, according to the Nobel Foundation:
• 2012: Serge Haroche of France and David Wineland of the U.S. for “for ground-breaking experimental methods” that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems
• 2011: American physicist Saul Perlmutter, U.S.-Australian researcher Brian Schmidt and American professor Adam Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae.”
• 2010: Russian-born scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for “ground-breaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.”
• 2009: British-American Charles K. Kao, Canadian-American Willard S. Boyle and American George E. Smith for breakthroughs in fiber optics and the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit.
• 2008: U.S. citizen Yoichiro Nambu and Japanese researchers Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa for work on “spontaneous broken symmetry” in subatomic physics.
• 2007: France’s Albert Fert and Germany’s Peter Gruenberg for work on the discovery of giant magnetoresistance.
• 2006: Americans John C. Mather and George F. Smoot for work examining the infancy of the universe, aiding the understanding of galaxies and stars and increasing support for the Big Bang theory of the beginning of the universe.
• 2005: Americans John L. Hall and Roy J. Glauber and German Theodor W. Haensch, for research explaining the behavior of light particles and determining the frequency of light with great precision.
• 2004: Americans David J. Gross, H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczeck, for their work in the discovery and exploration of strong force and quarks.
• 2003: Alexei A. Abrikosov, United States and Russia, Anthony J. Leggett, United States and Britain, and Vitaly L. Ginzburg, Russia, for their work concerning superconductivity and superfluidity in the field of quantum physics.
• 2002: Raymond Davis, Jr., United States, and Masatoshi Koshiba, Japan, for their research into cosmic neutrinos; and Riccardo Giacconi, United States, for pioneering contributions to astrophysics that led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources.
• 2001: Eric A. Cornell and Carl E. Wieman, United States, and U.S.-based researcher Wolfgang Ketterle of Germany for creating a new state of matter, an ultra-cold gas known as Bose-Einstein condensate.
• 2000: Zhores I. Alferov, Russia, U.S.-based researcher Herbert Kroemer of Germany, and Jack Kilby, United States, for work that helped create modern information technology.
• 1999: Gerardus ‘t Hooft and Martinus J.G. Veltman, Netherlands, for their theoretical work on the structure and motion of subatomic particles.
• 1998: Robert B. Laughlin, United States, Horst L. Stoermer, Germany, and Daniel C. Tsui, United States, for discovering a new form of quantum fluid that gives more profound insights into the general inner structure and dynamics of matter.
• 1997: Steven Chu and William D. Phillips, United States, and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, France, for their work in cooling and trapping atoms with laser light.