Photos of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics laureates Serge Haroche (L) of France and David Wineland from the U.S. are displayed on a screen during a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on Oct. 9, 2012. France's Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland from the United States on Tuesday won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on interaction between light and matter. (Xinhua/Liu Yinan)
STOCKHOLM, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- France's Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland from the United States on Tuesday won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on interaction between light and matter.
They were rewarded for "ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems, "announced Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.
"The Nobel Laureates have opened the door to a new era of experimentation with quantum physics by demonstrating the direct observation of individual quantum particles without destroying them," commented the academy in a statement.
Haroche and Wineland have independently invented and developed methods for measuring and manipulating individual particles through 1970s to 1990s while preserving their quantum-mechanical nature in ways that were previously thought unattainable.
The two scientists and their research groups have managed to measure and control very fragile quantum states which were previously thought inaccessible for direct observation, according to the academy.
"The new methods allow them to examine, control and count the particles," the statement said. But they used different methods. Wineland traps electrically charged atoms, or ions, controlling and measuring them with light or photons while Haroche takes the opposite approach to control and measure trapped photons or particles of light by sending atoms through a trap.
"Their ground-breaking methods have enabled this field of research to take the very first steps towards building a new type of super fast computer based on quantum physics" and "change our everyday lives in this century in the same radical way as the classical computer did in the last century," the statement added.
Born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1944, Haroche is a French citizen. He graduated from University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris and is Professor at College of France and Ecole Normale Superieure of Paris.
Wineland was also born in 1944 in the United States and got his Ph.D in 1970 from Havard University. He is Group leader and NIST Fellow at National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Colorado Boulder, CO, USA.
This was the second of this year's crop of Nobel prizes. The winners of chemistry will be announced on Wednesday, literature on Thursday, peace on Friday and economics next Monday.
On Monday, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to British scientist John B. Gurdon and Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka.
The annual Nobel Prizes are usually announced in October and are handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist and the inventor of dynamite. All but one of the prizes were established by this 19th century dynamite millionaire. The economics award was created by Sweden's central bank in 1968.
The prizes have been awarded since 1901. Each prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma and a cash award. This years's cash award is 8 million Swedish kronor (about 1 million U.S. dollars).