Serge Haroche


Serge Haroche

© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan

Serge Haroche
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012

Born: 11 September 1944, Casablanca, Morocco

Affiliation at the time of the award: Collège de France, Paris, France; École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

Prize motivation: “for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems”

Prize share: 1/2


Serge Haroche was born to a Jewish family in Casablanca, Morocco. His mother, whose family had Russian roots, was a teacher, and his father a lawyer. Aged 12, Haroche moved to France. Since moving to Paris he has worked at École Normale Superieure, CNRS (the National Center for Scientific Research), Ecole Polytechnique, and Collège de France, where he is currently employed. He has also spent periods of time working at Stanford, Harvard, and Yale universities in the US. Haroche is married with two children.


When it comes to the smallest components of our universe, our usual understanding of how the world works ceases to apply. We have entered the realm of quantum physics. For a long time, many quantum phenomena could only be examined theoretically. Starting in the 1980s, Serge Haroche has designed ingenious experiments to study quantum phenomena when matter and light interact. Haroche has been able to capture photons using another kind of trap–two mirrors which they can bounce between. This device allowed Haroche to study the photons by passing atoms through the trap.

To cite this section
MLA style: Serge Haroche – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Tue. 25 Jun 2024. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.