Skip to comments.3 Share Nobel for Work on Behavior and Use of Light
Posted on 10/05/2005 12:09:50 PM PDT by neverdem
A scientist who worked out a theory describing the behavior of light using quantum mechanics and two scientists who used that knowledge to develop a powerful laser technique for identifying atoms and molecules were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics yesterday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced.
Half of the prize, and half of the $1.3 million in prize money, go to Roy J. Glauber, 80, a professor of physics at Harvard, for calculations that laid the foundation for quantum optics.
John L. Hall, 71, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder and at the University of Colorado, and Theodor W. Hänsch, 63, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, and a physics professor at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, share the other half of the prize, for later work that uses ultrashort laser pulses to make precise measurements.
One of the central baffling properties of quantum mechanics, the strange rules that govern subatomic particles, is that light sometimes acts like waves, almost like ripples in a pond, while at other times, it appears to consist of discrete particles known as photons.
Physicists as far back as Einstein established the existence of photons and developed theories to describe how one or a few photons bounced off matter, almost like billiard balls. But they lacked a good understanding of the collective behavior of many, many photons.
"The mathematics can become infinitely complicated," Dr. Glauber said. Further, he added, "it wasn't clear there was a need to take that into account explicitly in experiments."
As a result, physicists continued to use the equations of classical optics from the 19th century, which successfully described most phenomena involving light.
"It occurred to me around the early 60's that that was not...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I find that light works great for getting rid of the dark!!
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list. Anyone can post any unrelated link as they see fit.
Thanks for the link. I missed the ping.
Thanks very much for the ping.
Got to read this one!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.