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It’s Not Here or There, It’s Quantum: American, French Scientists Win Nobel Physics Prize

 Associated Press (10/09/12) Karl Ritter; Louise Nordstrom

Serge Haroche and David Wineland were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for inventing methods for examining and studying the quantum world, research that could lead to the development of superfast computers.  Haroche is a professor at the College de France and Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and Wineland is a physicist at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado Boulder.  Working separately, the researchers developed laboratory methods that allowed them to manage, measure, and control fragile quantum states, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  Wineland traps ions and measures them with light, while Haroche controls and measures photons.  “Their ground-breaking methods have enabled this field of research to take the very first steps towards building a new type of superfast computer based on quantum physics,” the Academy says.  The Nobel judges note that quantum computers could radically change people’s lives in the way that classical computers did last century.  “The calculations would be incredibly much faster and exact and you would be able to use it for areas like … measuring the climate of the earth,” says prize committee secretary Lars Bergstrom.

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