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3 Optics Researchers Win Nobels

Photonics.com
Oct 2005
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 4 -- The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics today to three scientists -- two Americans and a German -- working in the field of optics.

One half of this year's $1.3 million prize was awarded to Roy J. Glauber, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence." In 1963, Glauber developed a method for using electromagnetic quantization to understand optical observations. He carried out a consistent description of photoelectric detection with the aid of quantum field theory and showed that the particle nature of light affects its behavior in certain circumstances. Glauber’s work laid the foundation for future developments in the new field of quantum optics.


Harvard University Professor of Physics Roy J. Glauber, at his home in Arlington, Mass., speaks to reporters on the phone about his Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence. (Photo: Justin Ide/Harvard University News Office)
Glauber continues with his research today, and topics of his current research include: the quantum mechanical behavior of trapped wave packets, interactions of light with trapped ions, the theory of continuously monitored photon counting and its reaction on quantum sources, the fundamental nature of “quantum jumps” and the multiple diffraction model of proton-proton and proton-antiproton scattering.

For their contributions to the "development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique," the other half of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics will be split by John L. Hall, a fellow with the University of Colorado's research facility JILA and senior scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, and Theodor W. Hansch, director of the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, and a physics professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat in Munich. The academy noted that the two scientists' research has "made it possible to measure frequencies with an accuracy of 15 digits. Lasers with extremely sharp colors can now be constructed and with the frequency comb technique precise readings can be made of light of all colors. This technique makes it possible to carry out studies of, for example, the stability of the constants of nature over time and to develop extremely accurate clocks and improved GPS technology."

The Nobel Prize is the first international award given yearly since 1901 for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. Each prize consists of a medal, personal diploma and prize amount.

For more information about the Nobel Prize or this year's winners, visit: www.nobelprize.org



GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
quantum optics
The area of optics in which quantum theory is used to describe light in discrete units or ‘quanta’ of energy known as photons. First observed by Albert Einstein’s photoelectric effect, this particle description of light is the foundation for describing the transfer of energy (i.e. absorption and emission) in light matter interaction.
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