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Retired Ohio State professor awarded Nobel Prize in physics

French scientist Pierre Agostini poses in his apartment at a desk with his laptop.
Michel Euler
French scientist Pierre Agostini poses in his apartment, Tuesday, Oct.3 , 2023 in Paris. The Nobel Physics award went to French-Swedish physicist Anne L'Huillier, French scientist Pierre Agostini and Hungarian-born Ferenc Krausz for their work with the tiny part of each atom that races around the center and that is fundamental to virtually everything: chemistry, physics, our bodies and our gadgets.

A retired Ohio State professor has been awarded the Nobel Prize.

Emeritus Professor Pierre Agostini, along with two other honorees, was named the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work studying electronic dynamics in matter.

Acting Ohio State President Peter Mohler said in a released statement, "The Nobel Prize is the pinnacle of scientific achievement. All of us at Ohio State celebrate this recognition of Pierre's lifetime of research and scholarship."

Agostini taught at OSU from 2004 to 2018.

Agostini is being honored alongside Ferenc Krausz from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and Anne L'Huillier from Lund University in Sweden. Planck and L'Huillier were also recognized for their work studying electrons in atoms during the tiniest of split seconds.

Their experiments "have given humanity new tools for exploring the world of electrons inside atoms and molecules," according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which announced the prize in Stockholm on Tuesday. They "have demonstrated a way to create extremely short pulses of light that can be used to measure the rapid processes in which electrons move or change energy."

Agostini was in Paris and could not be reached by the Nobel Committee before the honor was announced.

“I haven’t had a telephone call from the committee. Perhaps it's not true. I don't know," he told the AP, laughing. “I think the committee is looking for me in Columbus.”

“There are certainly younger people who would have appreciated it far more than me,” the 82-year-old joked. “It’s good but it is a bit late for me. I don’t think I would have deserved it more earlier!”

The Nobel Prizes carry a cash award of 11 million Swedish kronor ($1 million). The money comes from a bequest left by the prize's creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Jared Clayton Brown joined the WOSU News team in November 2022. He spent seven years working for the Fox and NBC affiliate stations in Louisville and three years with the CBS affiliate station in Columbus.