The Nobel prize in Physics 2012 was jointly awarded to to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems".
Haroche and Wineland showed with real experiments of photons that it is possible for a quantum system to exist in two states at the same time. Originally, this was proposed by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1933) within the quantum theory framework. The fact that a photon or an atom can exist in two states at the same time can have practical applications in i.e. the quantum computer. Today's computers store information in bits, which can have the value of 0 or 1 only. In quantum computing, a bit can exist in 0 and 1 at the same time (qubit), allowing for parallel computations at astronomical speeds.
Serge Haroche was also interested in macroscopic phenomena as well and was first who measured directly van der Waals interactions between sodium atoms, which is discussed in this paper. This experiment provided the first direct and precise check of the Lennard-Jones formula.
With the 2012 Nobel Prize announcement nearing, there's heated scientific discussions as to who will get the next Nobel Prizes.
This year’s selection of Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates, representing the main fields of Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Economics are in this link:
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will be announced on Monday 8 October, 11:30 a.m. CET at the earliest, followed by Physics on 9 October, Chemistry on 10 October, Peace 12 October, and Economics 15 October 2012.
Christina, Alexis, Matina, Dimitra, Aggeliki,