Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics “for experimental methods that generate attosecond light pulses for studying the dynamics of electrons in matter,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced this tuesday.
The prize was raised this year to 11 million Swedish crowns, about one million dollars.
Agostini and L`Huillier are French, while Krausz has two nationalities, Austrian and Hungarian.
According to the Academy, his work gives humanity new tools to explore the world of electrons inside atoms and molecules, with applications in fields such as electronics and medical diagnosis.
“The laureates’ experiments produced light pulses so short that they were measured in attoseconds, showing that these pulses can be used to provide images of processes within atoms and molecules,” he said in a statement.
L’Huillier commented in a press conference that it was a “very prestigious” award and that he was “very happy to receive it. It’s unbelievable”.
This physicist works at Lund University, in Sweden, and Agostini is a professor at Ohio State University, in the United States.
Krausz is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Germany.
The Nobel Prize in Physics is the second Nobel Prize awarded this week, after Hungarian scientist Katalin Karikó and her American colleague Drew Weissman won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries of mRNA molecules that paved the way for vaccines against Covid-19. .
Created by the will of the inventor of dynamite and businessman Alfred Nobel, the prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace have been awarded since 1901 with some interruptions, becoming the highest honor for scientists all over the world.
While the peace prize may steal the spotlight, the physics prize also often takes center stage, with winners like Albert Einstein and awards for fundamental science that changes the way people look at world.
Last year, Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger won the prize for their work on quantum entanglement, where two particles are entangled regardless of the space separating them, something that worried Einstein himself, who previously called it “terrible. action at a distance.”
The physics prizes will be followed by those for chemistry, literature, peace and economics, the latter added to the original list, and will be announced on successive business days in early October.