This year's Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three researchers, including Ferenc Krausz, the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, near Munich.
In addition to Krausz, Pierre Agostini from Aix-Marseille University in France and Anne L'Huillier, who teaches at Lund University in Sweden, have also been honored. They are being recognized for their contributions to the field of electron dynamics, as announced by the Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday afternoon in Stockholm.
Their work has provided humanity with new tools for exploring the world of electrons within atoms and molecules. The researchers generated attosecond light pulses, which are brief enough to capture snapshots of the extremely rapid movements of electrons. The academy explained that the ratio of an attosecond to a second corresponds to the ratio of a second to the age of the universe.
L'Huillier discovered a new effect resulting from the interaction of laser light with atoms in a gas. Agostini and Krausz demonstrated that this effect could be used to generate shorter light pulses than was previously possible.
The Nobel Prize comes with a monetary award of eleven million Swedish Kronor (approximately 950,000 euros) and is internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious scientific honors. Last year, the Physics Nobel Prize was awarded to French physicist Alain Aspect, American experimental physicist John Clauser, and Austrian quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger for their work in the field of quantum mechanics. The most famous recipient of the Physics Nobel Prize is Albert Einstein, who received it for his research on the photoelectric effect.
Photo ÃÂ© Nobel Prize Outreach. Photo: Bernhard Ludewig