Yesterday, the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Serge Haroche and David Wineland “for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.” Haroche is a professor at the College de France and Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Wineland is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, and the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

And did I mention that Dave Wineland is from the Time and Frequency Group at NIST in Boulder?

Dang straight, people; this is the third award in Physics given to people associated with our division in just over a decade. I can’t tell you how much I love NIST and how amazed and lucky I am to have been a part of this organization. My only regret is not having been on site yesterday to witness all the festivities firsthand but I’m proud that all my friends and colleagues are having this moment.

David Wineland; This image is Copyright Geoffrey Wheeler, NIST

The work cited in this award has many applications, but the two biggest are ultra-precision clocks and quantum computing. As you can imagine, I am particularly interested in the former application, though the world of quantum computing is definitely interesting. However, I am much more familiar with the techniques of trapping ions quantum particles and manipulating them to access stable transitions used as clocks. These techniques are currently paving the way for the most precise and stable clocks in existence. I am ridiculously excited that advances in precision time and frequency are held in such high regard by the scientific community as to warrant multiple Nobel Prizes and other prestigious awards over the years. I ridiculously love my field of research. Congratulations Wineland and Haroche on the significant recognition of your work!