Monday, June 17, 2024

Nobel Prize in Physics 2023: Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier win for study of electron dynamics

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Nobel Prize 2023 in Physics has been awarded 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.” They were acknowledged for their exploration of the world of electrons within atoms and molecules.

According to the official statement, the Nobel Laureates in Physics for 2023 have achieved the remarkable feat of generating ultrashort bursts of light. These bursts have the potential to precisely gauge the swift processes by which electrons shift and alter their energy levels.The Nobel Prize in Physics is the second to be granted this week, following the earlier award of the medicine prize to Hungarian scientist Katalin Kariko and her American colleague Drew Weissman. They were honoured for their groundbreaking discoveries related to mRNA molecules, which laid the foundation for the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, and Economic Sciences are yet to be revealed, with announcements scheduled until October 9. The upcoming announcement is the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, set for Wednesday.

These annual Nobel Prizes, which encompass physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace, are rooted in the will of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor known for dynamite, who passed away in 1896. In 1968, the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was established by Sweden’s central bank. The Nobel laureates for these prestigious awards are traditionally unveiled in Stockholm during October, except for the Peace Prize, which is determined by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo.

A look at their work

In 1987, Anne L’Huillier observed a phenomenon when she directed infrared laser light through a noble gas. This process gave rise to various light overtones, akin to different musical notes, with each overtone representing a specific number of cycles within the laser light. These overtones were a result of the laser light interacting with the gas’s atoms, imparting additional energy to certain electrons, which then released this energy as light. Anne L’Huillier’s pioneering work in this field laid the foundation for subsequent advancements.

Later in 2001, Pierre Agostini achieved a significant breakthrough by generating and examining a series of consecutive ultrashort light pulses, each lasting a mere 250 attoseconds. Concurrently, Ferenc Krausz conducted a separate experiment, allowing the isolation of a single light pulse lasting 650 attoseconds. These achievements were akin to capturing moments in time with incredible precision, providing insights into phenomena on an exceedingly small scale. Their groundbreaking work has since paved the way for numerous new discoveries.

Nobel Prize in Physics 2022

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger. They were recognised for their groundbreaking work in the realm of entangled photons, wherein they demonstrated the violation of Bell inequalities and made pioneering contributions to the field of quantum information science.

Nobel Prize in Medicine 2023

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was jointly awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their contributions “to the development of highly effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19”. The recognition highlights the crucial significance of their research on nucleoside base modifications, which played a vital role in the swift creation of these vaccines during the pandemic.

The Nobel Laureates’ discoveries have had a transformative impact on our understanding of how mRNA interacts with the immune system, enabling the unprecedented speed of vaccine development during one of the most significant health crises in recent history.

Vaccination, as a result of their work, now triggers the formation of an immune response against specific pathogens, providing the body with a crucial defense mechanism for future encounters with these threats

Nobel Prize in Physics 2023: Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier win for study of electron dynamics


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