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Nobel Prize in Physics 2023 goes to three scientists who explore electron dynamics

Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillie have created ‘experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light,’ said the Royal Swedish Academy

(l-r) Ferenc Krausz, Anne L'Huillier and Piere Agostini, the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2023.
(l-r) Ferenc Krausz, Anne L'Huillier and Piere Agostini, the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2023.Universidad del Estado de Ohio / FBBVA

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillie for developing new tools to explore the world of electrons inside atoms. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Stockholm.

The jury noted that the award winners have created “experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter,” or a new way to create extremely short pulses of light, which can then be used to measure the rapid processes in which electrons move or change energy.

Anne L’Huillier, who is from France, teaches at the University of Lund (Sweden) and has become the fifth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. Ferenc Krausz of Hungary heads the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching (Germany). And the Frenchman Pierre Agostini is a professor at Ohio State University (United States).

This is Nobel week. On Monday, the Karolinska Institute announced that this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine goes to Hungarian biologist Katalin Karikó and American immunologist Drew Weissman, for their work on effective RNA vaccines against Covid-19.

On Wednesday, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry will be announced; on Thursday, the Nobel Prize for Literature; and on Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize. The award is worth 11 million Swedish crowns, close to $1 million.

Last year the Nobel Prize in Physics went to Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for their pioneering work in the science of quantum communication.

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded since 1901 to 217 men and four women (1.8%): Marie Curie in 1903 for studying radiation; Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 for describing the nucleus of atoms; Donna Strickland in 2018 for a new technique to generate ultrashort high-intensity laser pulses; and Andrea Ghez in 2020, for discovering a supermassive compact object in the center of our galaxy.

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