The professor Serge Haroche (member of EURASC), 9th October 2012, received the Nobel Prize in Physics together with the American physicist David Wineland, for their work about measurement and manipulation of individual quantum systems.
Prof. Haroche works primarily in atomic physics and quantum optics. He is principally known for proving quantum decoherence by experimental observation, while working with colleagues at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris in 1996.
After a PhD dissertation on dressed atoms under the supervision of Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (himself a Nobel Prize recipient) from 1967 to 1971, he developed new methods for laser spectroscopy in the seventies, based on the study of quantum beats and superradiance. He then moved on to Rydberg atoms, giant atomic states particularly sensitive to microwaves, which makes them well adapted for studying the interactions between light and matter. He showed that such atoms, coupled to a superconducting cavity containing a few photons, are well-suited to the testing of quantum decoherence and to the realization of quantum logic operations necessary for the treatment of quantum information.