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Quantum Particle Work Wins Nobel For French, US Scientists 38

Posted by timothy
from the watch-them-blow-it-all-on-fancy-shoes dept.
thomst writes "Reuters is reporting that French scientist Serge Haroche and American David Wineland will share the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on measuring quantum particles. (The article is very skimpy on details.)" The Associated Press article carried by the Washington Post is also quite thin, but along with the Reuters story says the Haroche and Wineland were selected for demonstrating "how to observe individual quantum particles without destroying them."
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Quantum Particle Work Wins Nobel For French, US Scientists

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  • by Metabolife (961249) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @08:50AM (#41595175)
    Ok, so now we can see the cat.. now how do we pet it?
  • Go to the Source (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:02AM (#41595271)

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2012/advanced-physicsprize2012.pdf

  • by fishicist (777318) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:05AM (#41595301)

    Physics World has a slightly more in-depth article [physicsworld.com].

    • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:27AM (#41595549)

      Some details on Serge Haroche's experiment:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_decoherence#Quantitative_measurement [wikipedia.org]

      Really short summary is squirting individual atoms in a superposition state thru a microwave waveguide puts the field in the waveguide into a superposition. Not surprisingly figuring out the field inside a waveguide is something we're pretty good at after a couple decades of radar work etc. Now if you take two entangled atoms and squirt them thru the detector at different times, you can do/measure all sorts of interesting quantum effects by screwing around with the field in the waveguide.

      I guess a /.ification of it, is if you're familiar with the concept of knowing if an ancient computer has a 1 or 0 because a lightbulb is on or off, this is the technological element a quantum computer would use to sorta display the 1 or 0 of a result, sorta.

      There's a funny ancient computing analogy where you can't read a core memory, you can only write it and see if the energy required to write is consistent with it having been a 1 or 0 before it was overwritten. The analogy is you squirt an atom thru this guys lab experiment, what comes out isn't what came in, but you can work backwards to figure out what it must have been at the start, sorta.

      Its a handy basic tool/technique for quantum "stuff". Kind of like being the inventor of the "test tube" or NMR or FT-IR or whatever.

  • by MiniMike (234881) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:07AM (#41595323)

    I opened both links in split screen- I read two articles on the subject at the same time, in tribute to the excellent quantum particle research.

  • by Bazman (4849) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:08AM (#41595339) Journal

    ... they gave the prize to _experimental_ physicists!

  • Source (Score:5, Informative)

    by korpenkraxar (1731280) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:15AM (#41595399)
    How about going straight to the source instead? http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2012/press.html [nobelprize.org]
  • Details (Score:2, Funny)

    by hcs_$reboot (1536101)

    The article is very skimpy on details

    Oh yes, when it's about quantum physics, please bring a lot of details, with formulas and all... It'd help me to assess how low is my understanding of quantum physics...

  • Why US flag? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cycler (31440)

    Now this might be petty but as a Swede it would be fun to poke at US nationalists a little :)

    My questions is frankly; Why is there a US flag on this story? Yes, one of the scientist is from the US but the other is French.
    Not withstanding the fact that the Nobel Prize is Swedish.

    (This /. so I don't think there is anyone here that doesn't know were the Nobel Prize comes from)

    /C

  • We've resolved the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?? /me throws his prototype compensator in the trash.

  • We will know that we have advanced as a society when the Nobel prizes are covered as in-depth and breathlessly as the Oscars.
  • The full details are here: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2012/advanced-physicsprize2012.pdf [nobelprize.org]

    The prize covers a range of work by groups lead by Wineland and Haroche including: sideband cooling of an ion in a trap, transfer of a quantum superposition of electronic states to a quantum superposition of vibrational modes of a trap, measuring the number of photons in the cavity in a quantum non-demolition measurement, and creation of a superposition of microwave field states and monitori

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