Nobel Prize for Physics Rewards 'Groundbreaking' Quantum Experiments

By Spotts, Pete | The Christian Science Monitor, October 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

Nobel Prize for Physics Rewards 'Groundbreaking' Quantum Experiments


Spotts, Pete, The Christian Science Monitor


A French and an American physicist are sharing the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics for, in a sense, letting a cat out of the box. And not just any cat, but one that is dead and alive at the same time.

Welcome to the odd world of quantum physics.

Each winner independently demonstrated something long thought impossible: measuring and even controlling the weird, quantum properties of a subatomic particle without instantly forcing the particle to shed its quantum behavior.

In announcing the winners Serge Haroche, with the College de Paris and the cole Normale Suprieure, and David Wineland, with the US National Institute for Standards and Technology on Tuesday, the Nobel Prize committee termed the duo's work "ground-breaking experimental methods."

The experiments were conducted in 1995 and '96. They have helped pave the way for more-accurate atomic clocks, whose exquisitely accurate ticks are based on vibrations of atoms instead of the swing of a pendulum or the geared unwinding of a spring. And they have led to rudimentary forerunners of logic circuits for quantum computers the next major advance researchers are pursuing as they seek faster, more-capable number-crunching hardware.

Hearing from the winners that the award was a surprise has almost become a clich. Yet for Dr. Wineland, "it really was a surprise," he said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

In past years, he had heard "rumblings" that he was a potential winner, "but this year I hadn't, honestly, heard any rumblings. So I thought, Well, maybe my time has passed."

A phone call from Stockholm at 4 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time proved otherwise.

As for Dr. Haroche, he told reporters he and his wife were out for a walk in Paris when his cell phone rang and he saw the Swedish country code on caller ID.

"I was in the street and passing near a bench, so I was able to sit down immediately," he recalled. The realization that he'd was a co-recipient this year was overwhelming, he said.

When the two men head to Stockholm to accept the award and split the 8 million Swedish krona ($1.2 million) purse, it will be as longtime friends.

"I have known Serge Haroche, oh, I don't know, 25 or 30 years. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Nobel Prize for Physics Rewards 'Groundbreaking' Quantum Experiments
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.