Serge Haroche was born in 1944 in Casablanca. He graduated from Ecole normale supérieure (ENS), receiving his doctorate from Paris VI University in 1971 (thesis advisor: Claude Cohen-Tannoudji). After a post-doctoral visit to Stanford University in the laboratory of Arthur Schawlow (1972-73), he became full professor at Paris VI University in 1975, a position he held until 2001, when he was appointed Professor at Collège de France (Holder of the chair in quantum physics and Director since 2012).
He has been Maître de Conference at École Polytechique (1974-1984), visiting professor at Harvard (1981), part time professor at Yale University (1984-1993), member of Institut Universitaire de France (1991-2000) and chairman of the ENS Department of Physics (1994-2000). His research has mostly taken place in laboratoire Kastler Brossel at ENS, where he now works with a team of senior coworkers, postdocs and graduate students.
Before being awarded the Nobel Prize in 2012, Serge Haroche has received many prizes and awards, including the Grand Prix Jean Ricard of the French Physical Society (1983), the Einstein Prize for Laser science (1988), the Humbold Award (1992), the Michelson Medal from the Franklin Institute (1993), the Tomassoni Award from La Sapienza University (Rome, 2001), the Quantum Electronics prize of the European Physical Society (2002), the Quantum Communication Award of the International Organization for Quantum Communication, Measurement and Computing (2002), the Townes Award of the Optical Society of America, the CNRS Gold Medal (2009) and the Herbert Walter Prize of the German Physical Society and the Optical Society of America.
He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. He has received in 2009 a five year advanced research grant from the European Research Council (ERC).
Les temps sont particulièrement difficiles pour les chercheurs d'aujourd'hui. Le mode de financement et les contraintes institutionnelles les amènent à travailler selon des contrats à court terme pour servir des intérêt commerciaux et à faire des promesses difficiles à tenir, comme on le voit avec les ordinateurs quantiques. Les scientifiques devraient se consacrer à la recherche fondamentale, cruciale pour trouver une réponse aux problèmes qui se posent dans le monde à long terme, nous dit Serge Haroche, prix Nobel de physique. Il prône un système de formation et de recherche combinant science et sciences humaines, encourageant la curiosité et l'enthousiasme pour la science, dans un climat favorable à l'imagination et à l'innovation.
Today's researchers are enduring a tough period compared to other scientists throughout history. Due to funding and institutional constraints, they have to work on short-term contracts serving commercial interests and must make promises that they can hardly live up to. One example involves quantum computers. Scientists should devote themselves to basic research crucial to tackling long-term world issues, says Nobel Prize Serge Haroche. This does not prevent him from advocating a strong sense of humanity among scientists. He supports an ideal education and research system combining science and humanity that stokes people's curiosity and enthusiasm for science, while at the same time cultivating an atmosphere encouraging imagination and innovation.