The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier on Tuesday for experiments that “gave humanity new tools to explore the world of electrons inside atoms and molecules.”
The motions of electrons in atoms and molecules are so fast that they can be measured in “attoseconds,” and experiments conducted by three scientists have demonstrated that attosecond pulses can be observed and measured, the awarding committee said.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Eva Olsen, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics, said that “attosecond science allows us to address fundamental questions” such as the duration of the photoelectric effect, which earned Albert Einstein the 1921 physics Nobel.
An attosecond is one millionth of a trillionth of a second. According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the physics prize, the number of them per second is the same as the number of seconds that have passed since the universe began 13.8 billion years ago.
“Now the world of attoseconds has become accessible,” said the Nobel team wrote on the social site X“These short bursts of light can be used to study the motions of electrons.”
Who are the winners?
Pierre Agostini is a Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University.
Ferenc Krausz is Director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany and Professor of Experimental Physics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Anne L’Huillier is a professor at Lund University in Sweden.
Why did the team say they were getting a prize?
“Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier have demonstrated a way to generate very short pulses of light that can be used to measure rapid processes in which electrons move or transfer energy,” the awarding committee said.
It added that the laureates’ contributions enabled the investigation of processes to become more rapid and which were “previously impracticable”.
What impact did their work have?
“Through their experiments, this year’s laureates have generated flashes of light sufficient to capture snapshots of the extremely fast movements of electrons,” the team said in a news release.
“Anne L’Huillier discovered a new effect through the interaction of laser light with atoms in a gas,” the team said.
“Pierre Agostini and Ferenc Krausz have demonstrated that this effect can be used to generate shorter pulses of light than previously possible,” the team added.
Dr. Olsen said the work of the three laureates could pave the way for potential applications in fields including electronics and medicine.
According to the awarding committee, attosecond pulses can also be used to identify various molecules such as medical diagnostics.
Who will win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2022?
The prize went to John Glaser, Alain Aspecht and Anton Zeilinger for their independent work exploring quantum difference.
Who won the Nobel Prize in Science this year?
On Monday, the Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to Katelyn Carrico and Drew Weissman for chemical modification of messenger RNA. Their research led to the successful development of a Covid-19 vaccine and saved millions of lives. Dr Carrico is the 13th woman to win the Nobel Prize in this category.
When will other Nobel Prizes be announced?
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be awarded on Wednesday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Last year, Caroline R. Berdozzi, Morton Meldel and K. Barry Sharpless shared prizes for his work on click chemistry.
The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on Thursday. Last year, Annie Ernaux was awarded a prize for work that dissected the most humiliating, personal and scandalous moments of her past with almost clinical precision.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo on Friday. Last year, the prize was shared by the Russian organization Memorial; Center for Civil Rights in Ukraine; and Ales Bialiatski, an imprisoned Belarusian activist.
Next week, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences will be awarded on Monday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Last year, Ben S. Bernanke, Douglas W. Diamond and Philip H. Dibwick shares the prize for work that has helped change how the world understands the relationship between banks and financial crises.
All prize announcements will be there Broadcast live by the Nobel Prize Organization.