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Boulder's David Wineland Shares 2012 Nobel Prize In Physics With Serge Haroche


Two scientists – one French, one American - have won the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics. Serge Haroche and David Wineland will share the $1.2 million award for their work in quantum physics.

Update 1:38 p.m.: The AP has video of David Wineland's reaction to suddenly being a very popular man after winning the Nobel, we posted it along with a quote from the chair of the CU Physics department.

Update 8:01 a.m.: The Guardian has a live blog run-down of the announcement from the Nobel committee and on the honorees.

Update 7:50 a.m.: The Two-Way has more on the Nobel honorees in physics and their work that led to the award.


Wineland is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder. NPR's Richard Harris did report for Morning Edition this morning on the announcement, saying the physicists' work that won the award was working out how to "observe and manipulate subatomic particles without destroying them."

In a phone call interview that starts out reminiscent of many a 'morning zoo' show crank call, Wineland discussed his work that led to the award. The observations may lead to breakthroughs in quantum computing. As Wineland says in the interview, "...you have to say that it's a long way before we have a useful quantum computer. But I think most of us feel that even though that is a long, you know, long way off before we can realise such a computer, many of us feel it will eventually happen."

Here's a little more on atomic clocks and computing from David Wineland himself in a video from the Institute for Quantum Computing:


Wineland is a lecturer in the University of Colorado Boulder's physics department, and head of the Ion Storage Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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