Boulder physicist David Wineland, Frenchman win Nobel Prize in physics

BOULDER, Colo. - A physicist from Boulder is one of two winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics.

David Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology won the prize Tuesday along with friend Serge Haroche of France.

Their research has led to the construction of extremely precise clocks that could become the basis for a new standard of measuring time. It's also helped scientists take the first steps toward building superfast computers.

Wineland was sleeping when the notification call came at 3:30 a.m. MT. His wife answered the phone.

He says he was shocked, even though his name has come up before as a possible winner, and feels like he "got a lot smarter overnight."

He says he'll probably celebrate with a glass of wine before falling asleep after a busy day.

Wineland also lectures in the University of Colorado Boulder physics department.

He joined the physics faculty in 2000 and currently works with four graduate students pursuing doctorates, said physics department chair Paul Beale.

“It would be difficult to find a more brilliant and humble scientist,” said John Jost, who worked in Wineland’s group for about 10 years as a CU-Boulder doctoral student and postdoctoral researcher. “I feel lucky to have worked in his lab for my Ph.D. regardless of whether or not he won the Nobel Prize."

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