David Wineland, Serge Haroche Win 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics 

David Wineland, from the U.S., and Serge Haroche, from France, will share the 2012 Nobel prize in physics for their work on quantum optics

David Wineland and Serge Haroche have won the 2012 Nobel prize in physics.

Wineland, from the U.S., and Haroche, from France, will share the prize for their work on quantum optics — the precise control of photons, which are the fundamental units of light, the BBC explained.

This year's Nobel prize in physics was announced Tuesday at the Royal Swedish Academy of Science in Stockholm. The two winners will share a prize of 8 million Swedish krona ($1.2 million).

According to the official Nobel prize website, Wineland and Haroche "have independently invented and developed methods for measuring and manipulating individual particles while preserving their quantum-mechanical nature, in ways that were previously thought unattainable."

"The Nobel Laureates have opened the door to a new era of experimentation with quantum physics by demonstrating the direct observation of individual quantum particles without destroying them," an announcement from the prize committee said.

Wineland is affiliated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado in Boulder, while Haroche is with the College de France and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

On Monday, John Gurdon of the U.K. and Shinya Yamanaka of Japan were awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in physiology for medicine. The pair discovered that adult specialized cells can be reprogrammed into stem cells.

The BBC said this year's chemistry prize will be announced on Wednesday, and the literature and peace prizes will be awarded later in the week.

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