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. Haroche is from a Jewish family; he was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1944.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two scientists Tuesday “for groundbreaking 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 groundbreaking methods have enabled this field of research to take the very first steps toward building a new type of superfast 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.” Each Nobel Prize award is worth 8 million kronor, or about $1.2 million.