STOCKHOLM - French scientist Serge Haroche and American David Wineland won the 2012 Nobel Prize for physics for work in quantum physics, the prize committee said on Tuesday.

"The Nobel laureates have opened the door to a new era of experimentation with quantum physics by demonstrating the direct observation of individual quantum particles without destroying them," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement on the award of the 8 million crown ($1.2 million) prize.

Physics is the second of this year's crop of awards. The prizes, which reward achievements in science, literature and peace, were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of Swedish dynamite millionaire Alfred Nobel.

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