Serge Haroche (born 11 September 1944) is a French physicist who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics jointly with David J. Wineland for "ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems", a study of the particle of light, the photon. This and his other works developed laser spectroscopy. Since 2001, Haroche is a Professor at the Collège de France and holds the Chair of Quantum Physics. In 1971 he defended his doctoral thesis in physics at the University of Paris VI, his research has been conducted under the direction of Claude Cohen-Tannoudji.
Personal life and family
Serge Haroche was born in Casablanca, Morocco, to Albert Haroche (1920–1998) and Valentine Haroche, née Roubleva (1921–1998) a teacher who was born in Odessa to a Jewish family that relocated to Paris in the early 1920s. His father, a lawyer, comes from a family originally from Marrakech (Isaac and Esther Haroche), who settled in Casablanca to work as teachers at the École de l’Alliance israélite.
Haroche left Morocco and settled in France in 1956, at the end of the French protectorate treaty.
He currently lives in Paris; he is married to the sociologist Claudine Haroche (née Zeligson), also descending from the Russian Jewish émigrés family, with two children (aged 40 and 43). He is the uncle of French singer–songwriter and actor Raphaël Haroche (known as Raphaël, his stage name).
Haroche worked in the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) as a research scientist from 1967 to 1975, and spent a year (1972–1973) as a visiting post-doc in Stanford University, in Arthur Leonard Schawlow's team. In 1975 he moved to a professor position at Paris VI University. At the same time he taught in other institutions, in particular at the École polytechnique (1973–1984), MIT (1980), Harvard University (1981), Yale University (1984–1993) and Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (2000). He was head of the Physics department at the École normale supérieure from 1994 to 2000.
Since 2001, Haroche has been a Professor at the Collège de France and holds the Chair of Quantum Physics. He is a member of the Société Française de Physique, the European Physical society and a fellow and member of the American Physical Society.
In September 2012, Serge Haroche was elected by his peers to the position of administrator of the Collège de France.
On 9 October 2012 Haroche was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, together with the American physicist David Wineland, for their work regarding measurement and manipulation of individual quantum systems.
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.
- Commander of the French Legion of Honour
- 1988 Einstein Prize for Laser Science (awarded at Lasers '88).
- 1992 The Humboldt Prize
- 1993 Albert A. Michelson Medal by the Franklin Institute
- 2007 Charles Hard Townes Award by the OSA
- 2009 CNRS Gold medal
- 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics (shared with David J. Wineland)
- "Franklin Laureate Database – Albert A. Michelson Medal Laureates". Franklin Institute. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
- "Charles Hard Townes Award". Optical Society. Retrieved 2013-01-12.