COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – An Ohio State University emeritus professor and two other scientists have won the 2023 Nobel Prize in physics for their work studying electrons; a field that could lead to better electronics or disease diagnoses in the future.
The Nobel Prize was awarded to Ohio State’s Pierre Agostini, French-Swedish physicist Anne L’Huillier and Hungarian-born Ferenc Krausz. The trio studied the tiny part of each atom that races around the center, which is fundamental to multiple fields of science – as well as human bodies and technology.
Electrons move so fast, that humans previously have not been able to isolate them. Scientists had to look at an extremely short time period: one quintillionth of a second, known as an attosecond.
Agosti, L’Huillier and Krausz’s work produced pulses of light so short, that they can be used to provide images of processes inside atoms and molecules. Experts say scientists now have a “blurry” glimpse of electrons, which opens up new possibilities in the science world.
“Once you can control and understand electrons, you have taken a very big step forward,” Nobel Committee member Mats Larsson told the Associated Press.
82-year-old Agostini was in Paris when the Nobel Committee was attempting to reach him. They could not connect with him before his win was announced to the world.
“I haven’t had a telephone call from the committee. Perhaps it’s not true. I don’t know,” Agostini told the AP, laughing. “I think the committee is looking for me in Columbus.”
Acting OSU President Peter Mohler released a statement congratulating the retired professor.
“The Nobel Prize is the pinnacle of scientific achievement,” Mohler said. “All of us at Ohio State celebrate this recognition of Pierre’s lifetime of research and scholarship.”
Currently, the science of electrons is about understanding the universe, but it could have multiple practical applications in electronics, diagnosing diseases and basic chemistry in the future.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.