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2 Americans, Frenchman named Nobel Physics winners

graphic October 15, 1997
Web posted at: 7:53 a.m. EDT (1153 GMT)

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (CNN) -- Two Americans and a Frenchman were named Wednesday as co-recipients of the 1997 Nobel Physics Prize for their "development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light."

Steven Chu of Stanford University, William D. Phillips of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji of France were announced as this year's winner.

"The new methods of investigation that the Nobel laureates have developed have contributed greatly to increasing our knowledge of the interplay between radiation and matter," said the citation from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The academy added that their work "may lead to the design of more-precise atomic clocks for use in space navigation and accurate determination of position."

The prestigious award is worth $1 million.

It is the second year in a row that the physics prize has gone for work done at temperatures of near-absolute zero, the point at which all movement theoretically stops.

Last year's prize went to Americans David M. Lee, Robert C. Richardson and Douglas C. Osheroff for discovering that a helium isotope behaves in unusual ways at extremely low temperatures.

All the prizes are presented on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death. The peace prize is presented in Oslo, Norway; the others in Stockholm.


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