Three scientists win the Nobel Prize in physics for their work on how electrons move around the atom during the tiniest fractions of seconds, a field that could one day lead to better electronics or disease diagnoses.
The award went to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier for their study of the tiny part of each atom that races around the center and that is fundamental to virtually everything: chemistry, physics, our bodies and our gadgets.
Electrons move around so fast that they have been out of reach of human efforts to isolate them, but by looking at the tiniest fraction of a second possible — one quintillionth of a second known as an attosecond — scientists now have a “blurry” glimpse of them and that opens up whole new sciences, experts said.
“The electrons are very fast and the electrons are really the workforce in everywhere,” Nobel Committee member Mats Larsson says. “Once you can control and understand electrons you have taken a very big step forward.”