John L. Hall Wins 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics
NIST physicist John L. Hall shares the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics with Theodor W. Hänsch from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and Roy J. Glauber, a professor of physics at Harvard University.
Hall and Hänsch were awarded half the Nobel Prize for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique. The other half of the prize was awarded to Glauber for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence.
The important contributions by Hall and Hänsch have made it possible to measure frequencies with an accuracy of 15 digits. Lasers with extremely sharp colors can now be constructed, and with the frequency comb technique precise readings can be made of light of all colors. For example, this technique makes it possible to study the stability of the constants of nature over time and to develop extremely accurate clocks and improved global positioning system (GPS) technology.
World Scientific will publish the Proceedings of the John Hall Symposium, which was held at the University of Colorado, Boulder in August 2004.