Two physicists who developed techniques to discover the most intimate relations between light and matter have won this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics. The laureates are Serge Haroche of the Collège de France and the École Normale Supérieure, in Paris, and David J. Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado.
The duo share about $1.2 million, and will receive their award in Stockholm on December 10. Their work enables scientists to directly observe some bizarre effects — like the subatomic analogue of living and dead cats at the same time — as predicted by the quantum laws that prevail in the microcosm. It could lead eventually to quantum computers and super-accurate clocks.