Serge Haroche of France, along with American David Wineland, have won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work involving quantum particles.
The $1.2 million prize was announced today, coming on the heels of a win for Britain and Japan for their studies regarding stem cell research. Haroche and Wineland hope to build a new kind of computer, the likes of which has never been seen before and could forever change the way things are done in their field.
“The Nobel laureates have opened the door to a new era of experimentation with quantum physics by demonstrating the direct observation of individual quantum particles without destroying them,” said the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. “Perhaps the quantum computer will change our everyday lives in this century in the same radical way as the classical computer did in the last century.”
The pair made a discovery which allowed them to study quantum particles without destroying them, something that has never been done before. Because single particles are not easily separated from their surroundings, they start to lose their properties as soon as they are exposed to outside elements. But Haroche and Wineland have found a way around that, allowing them to examine the particles in ways that have never been done before.
“Until the last decade or two, some of these results were nothing more than ideas in science fiction or, at best, the wilder imaginations of quantum physicists,” said Jim Al-Khalili, professor of physics at the University of Surrey. “Wineland and Haroche and their teams have shown just how strange the quantum world really is and opened up the potential for new technologies undreamt of not so long ago.”