A Nobel prize for being in two places at once
US physicist David Wineland and France's Serge Haroche share the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics for doing what Wineland once described as a scientific parlour trick.
Specialists in optics, they worked independently, applying quantum mechanics, which for a century has governed the micro world in which even an atom looms large, to objects in the lab.
In the quantum world, tiny "objects" such as electrons can be in two places at once, and can behave as a particle at one moment and as a wave the next, depending on how an observer tries to measure them.
In other words, the mere act of observation determines which form the objects take - and even what reality is.
That, of course, does not describe the macro world of bigger objects that people experience daily.
A key to Wineland and Haroche's achievements was getting "quantum weirdness" to show in the everyday macro world.
Wineland has described his own experiment as making "a nano-version of a marble rolling back and forth in a bowl and being on the right side and the left side simultaneously".
Jim al-Khalili, a British professor of physics, said the research had taken quantum physics out of the realm of "science fiction".
"Wineland and Haroche and their teams have shown just how strange the quantum world really is and opened up the potential for new technologies undreamt of not so long ago."