Three scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their research on extremely fast light flashes.
The prestigious science prize goes to the Frenchman Pierre Agostini, the Hungarian-Austrian Ferenc Krausz, and the Frenchwoman Anne L’Huillier. They conducted research on the movement of electrons within atoms and molecules.
Their research has provided “new tools to explore the world of electrons in atoms and molecules for humanity,” says the Nobel Committee.
Electrons are minuscule particles in which changes occur at an incredibly rapid pace. It happens so quickly that humans cannot perceive it. Time is measured in attoseconds when it comes to electrons. An attosecond is one billionth of one billionth of a second.
“There are as many attoseconds in a second as there have been seconds since the universe’s creation,” emphasizes the Nobel Committee. The three laureates have succeeded in creating rapid light flashes to make visible what happens within atoms.
The Nobel Prize in Medicine is traditionally the first category for which the winner is announced. On Monday, this prize went to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for the development of an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.
In the coming days, the Nobel Prizes for Chemistry (Wednesday), Literature (Thursday), Peace (Friday), and Economics (next Monday) will also be announced.
The winners not only receive recognition but also get to share a monetary award of over 950,000 euros. They also receive a medal and a diploma.
The award ceremony will take place on December 10th, which is the anniversary of the death of the Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, after whom the prizes are named.