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News > 2012 Nobel Laureate in Physics Supported by Air Force Office of Scientific Research
2012 Nobel Laureate in Physics Supported by Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Posted 10/24/2012   Updated 10/24/2012 Email story   Print story


by Robert White
Air Force Office of Scientific Research

10/24/2012 - ARLINGTON, Va. -- Physicist David Wineland of the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and a lecturer at the University of Colorado, Boulder, shared the Nobel Prize for Physics, October 9, with French physicist Serge Haroche, a research professor at the College de France, for inventing methods to peer into the world of individual quantum particles, work that could help in creating a new generation of super-fast computers.

Dr. Wineland was funded by AFOSR beginning in 1982 through the 1990s, and did pioneering work in storing small numbers of ions (as few as one) in a trap made up of shaped electric and magnetic fields. He used these stored ions to study fundamental, quantum interactions between atoms and light, verifying and demonstrating important physics, including, for example, the observation of single quantum jumps. In more recent years, with AFOSR support, Wineland's research group has been studying novel quantum techniques for spectroscopy of ions and molecules that will enable better sensors and more accurate clocks. They have recently developed a general method for state detection of individual ions that can be applied to a large class of atoms and molecules. This work was featured at this year's AFOSR Spring Review Program.

Since its establishment in 1951, AFOSR has sponsored 71 researchers who went on to become Nobel laureates. On average, these laureates received AFOSR funding 16 years prior to winning their Nobel awards. The accomplishments of these laureates demonstrate the astute ability of AFOSR program managers to choose world-class researchers to address Air Force requirements and advance Air Force programs. These remarkable scientific achievements have contributed to the significant United States Air Force advantage on the battlefield. AFOSR has funded 36 laureates in Physics, 24 in Chemistry, eight in Physiology or Medicine, and three in Economics.

For over one hundred years, Nobel laureates in the fields of physics, chemistry, economics and physiology or medicine have been the recognized leaders in their respective fields, accomplishing research at the very edge of the frontiers of science.

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