U.S., French scientists share physics Nobel prize
BY Associated Press
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
10/10/12 at 3:20 AM
STOCKHOLM (AP) - A French-American duo shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for experiments on quantum particles that have already resulted in ultra-precise clocks and may one day help lead to computers many times faster than those in use today.
Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland showed in the 1990s how to observe individual particles while preserving their bizarre quantum properties, which scientists struggled to do before.
A quantum particle is one that is isolated from everything else. In this situation, an atom or electron or photon takes on strange properties.
Wineland traps ions - electrically charged atoms - and measures them with light, while Haroche controls and measures photons, or light particles.
Haroche is a professor at the College de France and Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Wineland is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, and the University of Colorado.
Wineland noted that many people are working in the field. "First of all, a lot of people have been working on advanced computers and atomic clocks for a long time. It's a bit embarrassing to focus on just two individuals," he said.
The physics prize was the second to be announced, with the medicine award going Monday to stem cell pioneers John Gurdon of Britain and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka.
Original Print Headline: U.S., French scientists win physics Nobel Prize
Wineland (left), Haroche