Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier were awarded the 2023 Physics Nobel Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday.
They are being recognized for their experiments, which have given humanity new tools to explore electrons inside atoms and molecules.
“Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier have demonstrated how to create extremely short pulses of light that can be used to measure the rapid processes in which electrons move or change energy.”
A study of processes so rapid it was previously impossible to follow has been enabled by the laureates’ contributions.
By creating flashes of light of just a few seconds, the laureates were able to capture the movements of electrons at extremely high speeds.
Laser light’s interaction with atoms in a gas led L’Huillier to discover a new effect. As a result of this effect, Agostini and Krausz were able to create shorter pulses of light than were previously possible.
Hungarian-American Katalin Karikó and American Drew Weissman won the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery of mRNA vaccines against Covid-19 the day before.
BREAKING NEWS— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 3, 2023
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 2023 #NobelPrize in Physics to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier “for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter.” pic.twitter.com/6sPjl1FFzv
Three scientists won the physics prize last year for demonstrating that tiny particles can maintain connections even when separated. While the phenomenon was once doubted, it is now being explored for potential applications in the real world, including encoding data.
This year’s #NobelPrize laureate in physics Anne L’Huillier discovered that many different overtones of light arose when she transmitted infrared laser light through a noble gas.— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 3, 2023
Each overtone is a light wave with a given number of cycles for each cycle in the laser light. They… pic.twitter.com/bJWD4kiE5Z
Nobel announcements will continue on Wednesday with the chemistry prize and on Thursday with the literature prize.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday, and the Nobel Prize in Economics will be announced on October 9.
Electrons’ movements in atoms and molecules are so rapid that they are measured in attoseconds. An attosecond is to one second as one second is to the age of the universe.#NobelPrize pic.twitter.com/5Bg9iSX5eM— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 3, 2023
The prizes carry a cash award of 11 million Swedish kronor ($1 million), a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896.
Due to the plunging Swedish currency, the prize money increased by 1 million kronor this year.
Nobel’s death anniversary is Dec. 10, and the laureates will be honored at ceremonies on that day. As per his wishes, the peace prize is handed out in Oslo, while the other award ceremony takes place in Stockholm.