The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to French researcher Serge Haroche for his work in quantum physics. [fr]

Serge Haroche, prix Nobel de Physique 2012 et médaille d'or du CNRS 2009. - JPEGThe 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to

French researcher Serge Haroche for his work in

quantum physics.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to French researcher Serge Haroche and American David Wineland on Tuesday, October 9th, in recognition of their «ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.»


Dr. Haroche developed a non-destructive method of observing photons by imprisoning them in a mirrored box. These photons are observable for periods of time up to half a second before they spontaneously disappear.

Until now, photons were destroyed as soon as they were detected, but the method developed by Dr. Haroche allows researchers to observe photons in the “long term” and to measure the statistical properties of thermal radiation.

He is one of the pioneers of Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics, a field that allows researchers, through their experiments, to explore the foundations of quantum theory and to develop quantum information processing prototypes.

La "boîte à photon" - JPEG
Serge Haroche began his career at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), but he has worked as a professor at the Collège de France since 2001 and currently works with the Kastler Brossel laboratory (École normale supérieure/UPMC/CNRS/Collège de France). He received the CNRS Gold Medal in 2009. In addition to currently being a member of the Academie des sciences, he became the Administrator of the Collège de France on September 1st, 2012.

More informations on its work on the website of le collège de France.

Do you need a pedagogical video to decode Serge Haroche’s quantum physics ? Click here. [Fr]

Illustrations :

Image 1 "Serge Haroche" © CNRS Photothèque - LEBEDINSKY Christophe
Image 2 "The mirrored box" © CNRS Photothèque/LKB - BRUNE Michel
Video © CNRS Images - MONCLIN Alain

Article created on october 10th, 2012

Dernière modification : 21/07/2016

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