The Lamb Shift—Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

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Science  04 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5983, pp. 1239-1241
DOI: 10.1126/science.1190737

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The study of the emission and absorption of radiation is the royal road that led Planck to quantum mechanics and Einstein to the concept of the photon. The experiment of Röhlsberger et al. (1) reported on page 1248 of this issue is another step along the way toward explaining changes in the spontaneous light emission from ensembles of emitters. These effects allow us to probe aspects of quantum electrodynamics (QED) in relatively low-energy nuclear experiments.