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Nobel Prize in Physics: Seeing the Light

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the for-people-smarter-than-me dept.

Education 130

lidden writes "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2005 has been awarded Roy J. Glauber "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence". And John L. Hall and Theodor W. Hänsch "for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique"."

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130 comments

Quantum what? (3, Funny)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713568)

Quantum coherence? Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not, until curiosity kills the (Shrödinger's) cat???

we need to hear this but we don't need to hear it (-1, Offtopic)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713694)

And in the "we need to hear this but we don't need to hear it from you" department, Barbra Streisand told Diane Sawyer, "We are in a global warming emergency state, and these storms are going to become more frequent, more intense." She was promoting a record with Barry Gibb.


"I do not know" say the Great Bells of Bow
"Here comes a Candle to light you to Bed
Here comes a Chopper to Chop off your Head
Chip chop chip chop - the Last Man's Dead."

Bandwidth enhancement? (4, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713583)

The ambiguity of light (wave and/or particle) has always made my head spin. To think that a bulb gives off light in "infinite" (lower limit time angle of tau) blows my mind.

Affiliating light with quantum theory seems like a stretch as quantum theory answers seem deus ex machina to me. I'm sure "wiser" people give this discovery merit, but even the "advanced information" link is ambiguous.

If we can now comb out light frequencies to within 15 digits of accuracy, it seems like we can increase bandwidth over laser optics by many orders of magnitude. The long term gain in communications bandwidth could be huge if the technique is feasible cheaply by industry.

If this technique can somehow be utilized with the radio spectrum instead of light, I wonder if similar increases in data space could be realized. I never contemplated light to radio in the physical sense.

/. translation (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13713713)

More pr0n in less time!

I think we all can agree, these guys really deserved the price.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (5, Informative)

marcus (1916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713749)

A fairly large part of physics and cosmology is mind blowing. That is why it is so interesting, at least to me. Forget quantum oddness, just consider some of the numbers. Try to get a real grip on things like 10^19 eV. The universe is truly, literally, awe inspiring.

With radio we already have much more sophisticated modulation methods. Most "light band" modulation today is basically an automated, binary version of Morse Code, still effectively in the Stone Age. We are currently just barely able to "tune" a light transmitter and receiver. DWDM is nowhere near the spectral density of current radio technology. We cannot do anything with light approaching phase shift modulation, spread spectrum techniques, code division muxing, hell even plain old FM in the "light band" is currently out of reach. While lasers could be compared to classic PLLs, currently they are not even close to being as useful in frequency modulation and demodulation applications.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713893)

Try to get a real grip on things like 10^19 eV.

Easy. 10^19 eV are about 1.6 J. That's the kinetic energy of a 1 kg mass at a speed of about 1.79 m/s.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (3, Interesting)

ScriptedReplay (908196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714173)

He should have been more specific. Try to get a real grip on things like protons with energy of ~10^19eV. Especially since the theory predicts a mean free path that's way too short for any sources to reach us at that energy level (nothing fitting the energy bill that we know of close enough to Earth) Not to mention the question of what kind of sources would accelerate them to such energies.

It's all a question of perspective ;-)

How's the temperature? (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714479)

Busy keeping things hot and cold?

Since it appears we can speak the same language, I'll admit that I had just finished reading about high energy cosmic rays. I still had the thoughts, but failed to bring enough of the context over.

For more, see this [amazon.com] pair of books.

Mind boggling.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (2, Interesting)

geeber (520231) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714081)

With radio we already have much more sophisticated modulation methods. Most "light band" modulation today is basically an automated, binary version of Morse Code, still effectively in the Stone Age

And yet light wins out when it comes to raw transmission bandwidth. The same thing that makes it tough to modulate - i.e. it's high frequency, is what makes it attractive in terms of big fat pipes.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (4, Interesting)

Alomex (148003) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714254)

To quote Richard Feynman:

"It doesn't seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil - which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama."

Richard Feynman: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13715201)

Confirmed pothead.

Re:Richard Feynman: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13715345)

It just goes to show that some people have better and clearer thoughts on pot than others do while sober.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714488)

"We cannot do anything with light approaching phase shift modulation, spread spectrum techniques"

Really? Google these terms and see what you get. PSM of Lasers can certainly be done. And I'll wager you a good deal of $$$ that there is quite extensive research in all of these areas in the Defense industry and telecom. If they can filter comb light in frequency [part of the reason they won the Nobel] then spread spectrum is possible. Possible is NOT equal practical. Practical has to be low cost and sturdy, etc. that may take some time to get here. The first transistors were not practical but look where we are 40 years later.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

Lucractius (649116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714876)

COngratulations on not realisng that the fundamental properties of a laser do not make any kind of modulation viable.

"Complex" Modulation (eg FM, Spread Spectrum, OFDM) requires the ability to work with multiple frequencies, a laser, by the very physical nature of its design and fundamental principles is not capable of this. It is designed to produce a Monochromatic pulse of coherent photons (thats a bunch of photons of the same frequency and all in the same phase) you cannot "modulate" a laser. Im aware there are highly advanced things on lasers that can do multiple frequencies and so on but generaly each pulse is monchromatic, and the problems of index spreading over long cables mean multichromatic pulsing would be a poor form of modulation anyway ( this would be the laser equivalent of digital FM ) because the prism effect of different index of refraction would change the path length of each different frequency to an extent that over a few kilometers of cable it would begin to mess up very high speed communications down sinlge mode fibers.

basicaly. while the amount of modulation available for a radio device is fantastic, it still pales in comparison to the basic fundamental laws about how much information you can get using a signal, the "faster" the signal (frequency [ in Hz] ) the more data it can carry. and the speed of a laser common for optical fibers. is roughly a 1000 times higher frequency than a 802.11b/g network radio signal. so that means per unit time without "modulation" or fancy methods of squeezing in extra data the laser is 1000 times higher bandwith... so are those modulation techniques that good... i definatly dont think so.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (2, Interesting)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713798)

Affiliating light with quantum theory seems like a stretch as quantum theory answers seem deus ex machina to me.

Quantum theory pretty much came out of studying light. Planck's constant, one of the defining characteristics of quantum theory was a result of Planck studying blackbody radiation. Same kind of radiation emmitted from a light bulb, just at a lower energy.

And the measurement process, which almost no one is in agreement about, is about the only thing in the theory that has elements of deus ex machina.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713842)

Here's what I don't get. The article states that a time measurement precision within the range of 1 part in 10^18 is now (soon) possible and will allow 'GPS and other things' to become more accurate. But 1 in 10^18 is a SINGLE ATTOSECOND per second!!! This is equivalent to something like measuring time to a precision of one second in a time period longer than the current age of the universe! How do you keep accurate time on a clock that precise? Simply wheeling it down the hall would be enough to intorduce sufficient relativistic time dilation effects to throw the whole thing off....to say nothing of putting it on a satellite whizzing around the planet!.....

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714069)

Yes, but don't forget that QM measurements don't negate relativity - this is the ultimate example of "to thine own self be true". Yes, wheeling it down the hall will change its timing relative to everything else that is not moving the same way. So as far as useful measurements go, anything which is measuring the device will have to be moving with it - which includes any "stationary" object on the entire earth, practically speaking. (Especially since they won't be moving it down the hall for that exact reason.)

What's probably more useful, however, is that general relativity is fairly well understood from a mathematical standpoint. Id est, it is relatively simple (no pun intended) to calculate the time/space compression impact on two bodies whose relative speeds are known. (Now what I don't know is, is the same level of measurement accuracy required in the speeds to be able to utilize the 10^-18 resolution?)

general relativity (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13715500)

What's probably more useful, however, is that general relativity is fairly well understood from a mathematical standpoint. Id est, it is relatively simple (no pun intended) to calculate the time/space compression impact on two bodies whose relative speeds are known.

I think you're confused with special relativity, the theory that describes the effect of speed differences on measurements and the equivalence between mass and energy. It combines quite well with quantum mechanics. General relativity - about space curvature due to gravitation - is NOT trivial mathematically. There still isn't a consistent description that combines gravitation (general relativity) and quantum mechanics.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

geeber (520231) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714120)

Well, this is where the article glosses over a lot of difficulties. At these levels of precision, measuring the accuracy is tough, and an active area of research is just trying to send frequency standards down optical fibers without screwing them up.

When you try to get to one part in 10^18 relativistic effects due to the vibration of the optical table come into play. Forget about putting such a system on a satellite!

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

geeber (520231) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713853)

If we can now comb out light frequencies to within 15 digits of accuracy, it seems like we can increase bandwidth over laser optics by many orders of magnitude. The long term gain in communications bandwidth could be huge if the technique is feasible cheaply by industry.

It is unlikely right now that optical comb techniques will be applied to optical communications. The precision that these guys go for far exceeds anything needed in fiber communications.

That is not to say that accurate clocks aren't needed, but existing atomic clocks do the trick just fine. There is currently a whole effort at NIST aimed towards miniturizing atomic clocks precisely for communications purposes.

Where optical frequency combs will come into play are areas like testing the limits of physical theory, i.e. just how constant are those constants anyway? Does the fine structure constant change over time? What are the limits of general relativity? That sort of stuff is cool, but probably won't impact your DSL bandwidth too soon.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

TeatimeofSoul (711787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714113)

The ambiguity of light (wave and/or particle) has always made my head spin.

No need to be confused. The simple experimental fact is that light is neither a wave nor a particle. We just don't have a model for what it really 'is'.

Of course, under certain conditions you won't be far wrong if you think if it as a wave/a particle.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

norton_I (64015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13715322)

Mostly what we don't have is a name for the type of thing our model describes. So we just call it a wave or a particle, depending on what is convenient at the time.

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714124)

Since this work was done in 1963, we can say with confidence that it led to great advances in communications and storage, and we're using them already. The Nobel Prize, especially in Physics, is entirely at the other end of the spectrum from a lot of the speculative stories on slashdot; it's often given in recognition of the lasting significance of work that's already made a difference.

Thinking of light as ambiguous between a wave and a particle is a bit misguided; it's neither a wave nor a particle, but something different which has properties in common with each, like how an SUV isn't exactly a car or a truck, but similar to each in some ways. You can think of the wave/particle duality experiments as proving that light is not an ordinary wave (because it can only be detected going through one gap), nor an ordinary particle (because it shows interference patterns). It is therefore a different type of thing, that we'd never seen before, whose rules had to be worked out. It's not that light sometimes acts like a wave and sometimes like a particle; light always acts in a consistent fashion, which has some features like waves, some like particles, and some unlike anything else.

Waves or particles? (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13715607)

It's not that light sometimes acts like a wave and sometimes like a particle; light always acts in a consistent fashion, which has some features like waves, some like particles, and some unlike anything else.

True. More specifically, light and elementary particles such as electrons propagate as waves, but interact as particles. Still, light behaves more like waves and massive particles more like particles. It is rather hard to create a coherent particle wave consisting of multiple massive particles; any interaction between the particles tends to destroy coherence. On the other hand, it is very hard to create a radiation field with a well-defined number of photons (for example in a laser cavity); any interaction with the surroundings tends to create a coherent wave that is a superposition of infinitely many states with a defined number of photons (number eigenstates).

Re:Bandwidth enhancement? (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714822)

"f we can now comb out light frequencies to within 15 digits of accuracy, it seems like we can increase bandwidth over laser optics by many orders of magnitude. The long term gain in communications bandwidth could be huge if the technique is feasible cheaply by industry."

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle comes to mind. If you wanna have sharper frequency peaks, you gotta measure longer. This could be a problem.

Wow... what's next (5, Funny)

JustASlashDotGuy (905444) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713589)

First, we have the sonic toothbrush, and now we have the optical frequency comb!

I can't wait to see what the future holds for us next!

Re:Wow... what's next (2, Funny)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713768)

I can't wait to see what the future holds for us next!

Arghh!! Must escape the Attack of Horrible Puns (TM) from Slashdot!

Re:Wow... what's next (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713876)

we have the sonic toothbrush

Who looks at a toothbrush and thinks, 'Hmm, this could be a little more sonic!'

Re:Wow... what's next (2, Funny)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714065)

"First, we have the sonic toothbrush, and now we have the optical frequency comb!"

I thought Sonic was a hedgehog

Re:Wow... what's next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13714565)

You are all way off base. Next will be the Optical Frequency Comb Over designed to camouflage male pattern baldness. It will most likely make its debut on Larry King tonight.

Re:Wow... what's next (1)

Jambon (880922) | more than 8 years ago | (#13715620)

First, we have the sonic toothbrush, and now we have the optical frequency comb!

You mean like this? [engadget.com]

Took their time (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713595)

It took the Nobel committee 42 years to decide that Glauber's work in quantum theory was worthy of their prize. Now that's what I call uncertainty.

Re:Took their time (3, Funny)

databyss (586137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713706)

42 years you say?

Maybe it wasn't so uncertain... maybe it was always the answer...

Re:Took their time (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713760)

I'm still wondering about the "Insightful" moderation.

Dear mods : it was a play on the word "Uncertainty". That's all.
He worked in quantum mechanics (uncertainty in the sense that two non-communting operators cannot be simultaneously measured exactly).

They took a long time (uncertainty in the sense of not being able to make your mind up).

That's it. It's barely Informative, and it's certainly not Insightful. It may be Funny, depending on whether your sense of humour is as childish as mine.

Strewth.

Re:Took their time (1)

maotx (765127) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714042)

I don't know. I saw it as a reference to HGTG with the "42" and "answer" comment.
But thats just me. You may be onto something with the uncertain bit, but I'm uncertain.

Re:Took their time (3, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714556)

You may be onto something with the uncertain bit, but I'm uncertain.
Trust me. I wrote the original comment.

Re:Took their time (2, Informative)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714509)

It's also amazing how long they took to award Hänsch, and then only 1/4th of the prize - Hänsch's discovered the monochromatic, tunable dye laser (essential to almost all laser spectroscopy application, at least until the semiconductor laser became usable, and still unparalleled in the high power range), saturation and polarization spectroscopy (techniques which allow for Doppler-free spectroscopy; again, essential techniques used in almost any laboratory where lasers are pointed at atoms), laser cooling of atoms (unfortunately he applied this technique only in one direction, a Nobel prize was awarded to the first people who used essentially the same technique for trapping atoms), and finally frequency combs (a fairly new development which allows for very precise frequency measurements in the visible and UV range). Furthermore Hänsch's group was one of the first to observe Bose-Einstein condensation, is leading in precision measurements of the spectrum of the Hydrogen atom (if I'm still up-to-date, their error margins are smaller than those of the theoretical calculations, which is a great achievement), and a number of other interesting things. In 2001, at the occasion of Hänsch's 60th birthday a colloquium was held here in Munich with talks by IIRC 6 nobel laureates, who all seemed to be embarassed that out of them only Hänsch hadn't yet been awarded the prize.

OTOH I did attend a lecture he gave a few years back and I must say that he is one of the worst lecturers I ever had, he handed the lecture off to his assistant half-way through the semester. But maybe he's a better professor in his advanced courses, his group seemed to be fairly happy with him everytime I talked to somebody.

Re:Took their time (2, Funny)

geeber (520231) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713880)

It took the Nobel committee 42 years to decide that Glauber's work in quantum theory was worthy of their prize. Now that's what I call uncertainty.

At the same time, because the uncertainty in the timing of the award is very large, the amount of money involved can be known very precisely!

Re:Took their time (2, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714187)

It took the Nobel committee 42 years to decide that Glauber's work in quantum theory was worthy of their prize. Now that's what I call uncertainty.

The Nobel Committee does not want to impugn the integrity of the Prize by doling it out for science that does not pan out. They have to wait until the research is established to some degree. What would happen to the Prize if someone won for cold fusion? The Nobel Prize would be a joke.

Re:Took their time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13714472)

Are you kidding? Glauber should have won this twenty years ago. His work on coherent states is the bedrock of modern quantum optics. For example, without coherent states, nobody would understand squeezed states. And for example, coherent states allow us to understand why the classical optics approximation works so well. I read his papers over and over in my Ph.D. research, and I'm shocked it's taken so long.

Re:Took their time (2, Insightful)

PippinTheThird (919279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714572)

The (original) purpose of Nobel Prize was to encourage young gifted scientists, to give them recognition necessary to get funding for research. Obviously now it's just a sort of a medal for past achievement and adds absolutely nothing to science TODAY.

Re:Took their time (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714882)

That's because they can give only 1 prize a year, and there are lots of great people deserving one. They're already splitting it.

Particles (3, Funny)

xgamer04 (248962) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713599)

I believe that the number of particles physicists currently use is not enough. Therefore I am now creating the foo-on, bar-on, and baz-on. Use 'em however ya like. You can send the Nobel stuff anytime.

Re:Particles (1)

quasi_steller (539538) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713911)

You need to use SCIgen [mit.edu] to generate a research paper with graphs, equations and everything, then try submitting it to a conference. Who knows you may get to give a lecture on your new theory.

Re:Particles (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714188)

I think it was Fermi who said, "If I could remember the names of all these particles, I'd be a botanist."

Hell, if a giant like Fermi had trouble, who am I, a lowly physics undergrad, to think that _I_ can remember them all.

Physics behind the awards (2, Informative)

Cyclotron_Boy (708254) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713605)

PhysOrg [physorg.com] has a pretty good rundown of the physics involved in the discoveries. Worth a look...

Re:Physics behind the awards (4, Informative)

Cyclotron_Boy (708254) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713625)

Ooops- wrong link...
Try this one [physorg.com] instead.
My bad. Need more coffee.

Re:Physics behind the awards (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13714104)

My bad. Need more coffee

Hot coffee?

Brilliant way to get modded +8 Informative... (2, Funny)

birge (866103) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714231)

I wish I'd thought of that: post a useful link, get it wrong, repost. Double your karma. Nicely done!

Roy J. Glauber = Ariel Sharon? (0)

manifestcommunisto (641699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713606)

Does anybody else think that Roy J. Glauber http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/2005/index .html [nobelprize.org] looks a lot like Ariel Sharon (PM of Israel). After seeing the picture, I for a moment thought that Ariel Sharon won the Nobel Peace Prize. Hmm....

Re:Roy J. Glauber = Ariel Sharon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13713673)

those damn nobel prize winning jooos. if it wasn't for the oppression of the palestinian people they would have won all the nobel prizes up till now. only imperialist infidels could overlook great inventions such as the child-sized suicide bomb belt.

Corresponding wikipedia articles (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13713613)

There are already three articles about those outstanding scientists in the english wikipedia at [[Roy J. Glauber]] [wikipedia.org], [[John L. Hall]] [wikipedia.org] and [[Theodor W. Hänsch]] [wikipedia.org].

The German wikipedia and the Indonesian one has also three articles. Some of them are still to be considered stubs.

I would like you to invite to translate them into other languages (oops, I forgot Esperanto, there are already articles about them) and to contribute to those articles. We need freely licensed pictures of them and more details about their CV and their work.

Thanks you very much in advance.

A bit slow on the uptake here... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13713619)

It's pretty sad when Slashdot is scooped on announcing the Nobel Prize in Physics by news.com, sci.physics, and any number of mainstream news outlets aggregated in Google news...

He got a nobel prize for WHAT?!? (0, Flamebait)

sdirrim (909976) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713633)

Coherence of light? Thats a LASER! We already know about these!

Re:He got a nobel prize for WHAT?!? (5, Informative)

feranick (858651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713743)

Glauber didn't discover the laser, if this is what you mean. He provided the theory for quantum optics, which deals with quantum electrodynamical interactions of light and matter. Hall and Hänsch instead developed laser-based precision spectroscopy: in other words they used laser for high precision frequency measurements. Coherent optics is not just about laser, but what you can do with them.

optical frequency comb technique - Prior art? (5, Funny)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713682)

The inventor of the comb-over patented [uspto.gov] his work in 1977, and won the igNobel prize [improbable.com] last year. I'm sure the comb-over technique operates in an optical frequency range in order to be effective.

Wikipedia (2, Interesting)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713691)

I searched for Glauber & this is what I found.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glauber [wikipedia.org]

If this guy is good enough to win the Nobel, how come
he isn't in Wikipedia?

shoulda (1)

CRAssEsT (307789) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713726)

it should of been awarded to Roy G. Biv "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence".

Yeah?! So what! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13713727)

I bet I get more chicks on a bad weekend than this guy has ever gotten in his whole life!

Re:Yeah?! So what! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13715018)

Maybe. But he most certainly gets more girls than you.

Damn - another lost Nobel prize (2, Funny)

Snamh Da Ean (916391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713748)

I have missed out for yet ANOTHER year on physics prize. I think I will just re-train and become an economist or peace campaigner or something.

Quantum Physicist Catfight (2, Funny)

theSpaceCow (920198) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713764)

The Nobel site clearly shows via pie-chart icons that each of the three winners only gets a fraction of that little medal. I hope they seriously do cut it and mail them the parts, because to give each a medal would be mathematically dishonest at best.

I also hope jealous laureates fight one another to gain their medal-pieces and complete the artifact Triforce-style. Mostly because the mental image amuses me.

John Hall (0)

geeber (520231) | more than 8 years ago | (#13713808)

I met John Hall at a laser conference a few years ago. Not only are his accomplishments truly impressive, but he is just about the nicest guy you will ever meet as well. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving person

Re:John Hall (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13714444)

I've noticed this happens every so often on Slashdot. (as well as rock stars, actors, etc.). Why do people feel the need to announce to the world that they met someone famous? It doesn't make the poster any more important and they certainly won't attain any fame themselves by associating their name with the famous person (especially via an essentially anonymous name on Slashdot).

However, if someone said that John Hall was an ahole then, yeah, it's ok to defend the guy if you think that he isn't. Otherwise, does it actually make you feel better about yourself by pointing out that you met someone famous?

Btw, this isn't a flame. I've never experienced this phenomena so I'm genuinely curious why.

This is old news - laser spectroscopy proves it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13713917)

This is really old news. Djorksky theorized in 1994 that a quantum shift of hydrogen plasma generated infrared light. The comb technique itself is useless for laser-based precision spectroscopy, as the dynamic shift of light frequencies exceeds the tolerance of the resultant vectoring.

To think that the ambiguity of light frequencies can be overcome with this method is ludicrous! I have been analyzing light spectroscopy data for years and it just does not work. Of course, variable-emission light sources *appear* symmetrical, but we all know that is nonsense. Of course, bandwidth can be increased with this method under the Plausen principle.

Nothing new in this article. Move on.

Man-winning Prize (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13713998)

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2005 has been awarded Roy J. Glauber...

Congratulations Nobel Prize in Physics 2005. Be on guard though. It may try to use you as currency.

Speaking of combing ... (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714048)

... how finely do they divide the prizes?

In this case, they awarded half to Glauber for one piece of work and a quarter each to Hall and Haensch for a completely different piece of work. Can they recognize 5 different significant advances in the same year if they wish to?

And how many people can share a portion of a prize for a given piece of work? If 18 people participate in developing a quantum theory of Slashdot submission which ultimately ends up explaining life, the universe, and everything, do all 18 share in the prize?

Re:Speaking of combing ... (1)

geneing (756949) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714204)

A maximum of 3 people can get the prize in each field. And they have to be alive when they are awarded the prize.

IIRC, there were a few times when the peace prize was awarded to the head of the UN the work of the whole UN organization.

Re:Speaking of combing ... (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714867)

But, on the other hand, the peace prize has some special provisions for organizations. The head of an academic institution won't get the scientific prizes, no matter what the combined results from the school are.

From a Student (5, Informative)

ThinkComp (514335) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714117)

I was an undergraduate student in one of Professor Glauber's courses at Harvard two years ago, and though I'm certainly no specialist on light or physics, I really enjoyed his course (The Nature of Light and Matter). It's one of the many Core Curriculum courses at Harvard, but it's taught by one of the few professors there worthy of calling himself a teacher. He has a great sense of humor. I'm glad someone who deserves some credit was able to earn it.

Re:From a Student (2, Interesting)

bigpat (158134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714675)

I took Professor Glauber's "Waves Particles and the Structure of Matter" through the Harvard Extension School as a high school senior over a decade ago.

It was probably the best course I have ever taken in any subject, but certainly out of my physics classes I will always remember it very fondly for how he was able to combine very illustrative descriptions of theory with very good physical demonstrations.

Somewhat sadly, I eventually took up work in the computer field rather than stick with physics. So I cannot say that it laid the foundation for a career in physics for me, but I never looked at physical reality the same way since then and I have always tried to look more carefully whatever the subject.

Very happy to see him recognized today for his achievements, he is a good person and a great teacher.

Germany and America share the nobel prize (2, Informative)

gururise (263174) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714122)

Germany, the traditional powerhouse in physics and America shared this 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics. The interesting thing is the Glauber, the american scientist, was awarded 1/2 of the prize money (approx. 1.1 Million Euro), while Hänsch, from Germany, and Hall, from America, had to share the other half.

Hall, 71, of Colorado University and Hänsch, 63, of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University, share the other half of the prize "for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique".

Hänsch told reporters in Stockholm via telephone that he was at his Munich office when he learned he had won the prize.

"I was speechless and very, very ecstatic," he said. "I'm now trying to get used to the idea.

"I have learned that you don't have to know everything in your field. But you have to know what has previously not been known," he added.

Re:Germany and America share the nobel prize (1)

lckarssen (835793) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714833)

The interesting thing is the Glauber, the american scientist, was awarded 1/2 of the prize money (approx. 1.1 Million Euro), while Hänsch, from Germany, and Hall, from America, had to share the other half.
That's because they wanted to award equal shares for theoretical and experimental physics. Hall & Haensch are experimentalists.

mod u0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13714582)

is dying. Fact: 3ought the farm.... a super-organised can connect to

Go JILA! (0, Offtopic)

TheMatt (541854) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714639)

As a grad student currently at JILA I'd like to say "Congratulations" to Jan Hall for his work on the frequency comb. It's been a good ride for JILA during my * ahem * years of graduate work here. Three Nobels (among many other awards) for Hall, Wieman, and Cornell, and even more accolades for Debbie Jin, Kapteyn and Murnane... It's been an honor to be able to talk, heck, be in the same building with these people.

Re:Go JILA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13716118)

Don't see why this was modded off-topic. JILA, or Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, is where much of today's cutting-edge physics takes place. Pretty amazing that an institution generates multiple physics prizewinners in a five-year period.

Roy Glauber critique on sci.physics.research (1)

Nightlight3 (248096) | more than 8 years ago | (#13714663)

Interesting timing. Few days earlier, in a debate with some Quantum Opticians, I posted in sci.physics.research several messages criticizing Roy Glauber and his theory of coherence. The last post was at: sci.physics.research thread on Roy Glauber's coherence theory. [google.com]

Re:Roy Glauber critique on sci.physics.research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13715282)

No doubt random Internet crank is right and Harvard Nobel Laureate (and everyone in that field for decades after) is wrong. No chance that random Internet crank doesn't fully understand the theory. That never happens.

Re:Roy Glauber critique on sci.physics.research (1)

Nightlight3 (248096) | more than 8 years ago | (#13715766)

No doubt random Internet crank is right and Harvard Nobel Laureate (and everyone in that field for decades after) is wrong.

You are welcome to argue substance of the critique (the gist of which is in post-1 [google.com] and post-2 [google.com]. The questions discussed there happen to be the topic of my masters thesis (in theoretical physics at Brown University). In the years since leaving academia to work in industry, I had followed the developments and studied the literature in this field. Basically the critique is not that Glauber is formally wrong or that Quantum Optics as a branch of applied physics is useless.

The critique is about a small sub-current among the Quantum Opticians misrepresenting their experimental results to the physicists as demonstrating some fundamental non-local effects which apparently seem to manifest, of all the various fields of physics, only in Quantum Optics. In a recent thread in PhysicsForum, Photon "Wave Collapse" Experiment (Yeah sure; AJP Sep 2004, Thorn...) [physicsforums.com], I have debunked a recent QO claim (of "magic" effects observable only in QO), showing exactly how it cheats (it was a pretty blatant fraud in this case).

Generally, though, such claims do not cheat in any blatant way, but merely use the Glauber's QO terminology which has its own definitions for "counts" (which don't count) and "correlations" (which correlate these "counts"), unfamiliar to the physicists who assume that the (photo) "counts" talked about by Quantum Opticians are the actual counts shown by detectors. You can find specific details on how this "QO sleight of hand" works in a related sci.physics.research post discussing the famous 1988 Ou & Mandel experiment [google.com] (which was the precursor of all modern PDC based B.I. violations experiments) allegedly showing violations of Bell Inequalities. No violations were shown either in the experiment or predicted by the QO/QED, yet the general impression physicists have about these QO experiments is that, ignoring some minor technological imperfections, the theory QO/QED predicts the violations and the experiments show them. The only valid part of such impressions among physicists, though, is that the theory (QO/QED) and the experiment indeed do agree (they agree that there are no B.I. violations).

Could this change digital imaging? (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 8 years ago | (#13715566)

I haven't bothered to read the documents, but could this change the way sensors are designed? Currently, the sensor basically turn photons into electric current. If we could we simple mesure the wavelength and intensity, this could open the way up for radical new designs/implementations, right? Or am I just talking out of my ass here?

This Glauber laureate and Ariel Sharon. (0, Troll)

ThePingster (920293) | more than 8 years ago | (#13715929)

Is it just me or does Roy J. Glauber look a lot like Ariel Sharon? Have you ever seen them together?
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