Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland win physics Nobel

Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland win physics Nobel

Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland win physics Nobel

Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland have been awarded the 2018 Nobel prize in physics for their work in creating "tools made of light". Arthur Ashkin of the United States was the third victor of the 2018 physics prize.

A Canadian professor ended a 55-year drought for female physicists today when she was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for physics, becoming only the third woman to ever win it.

At age 96, Ashkin, affiliated with Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, is six years older than Leonid Hurwicz was when he won the economics prize in 2007.

It recognises their discoveries in the field of laser physics - with Dr Ashkin developing a laser technique described as "optical tweezers" that can grab tiny particles such as viruses without damaging them.

Ashkin said he was pleasantly surprised when he got the 5 a.m. call from Sweden.

Göran K. Hansson of the Nobel Foundation said part of the issue is that they often goes back in time to award prizes, a process which can take a lot of time to verify.

Ashkin said he's now working on solar power research at his New Jersey home.

Gerard Mourou of the École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France, and Donna Strickland of the University of Waterloo, Canada, won for the invention of chirped pulse amplification (CPA), a technique for hugely boosting the power of laser pulses which is widely used in physics research and could have applications in cancer therapy and particle acceleration. That increases the pulse intensity, which has found its most practical use in corrective eye surgeries. "I don't know what to say, I'm honored to be one of these women", she said. In research that would be used for Strickland's doctoral thesis, the pair manipulated beams of light to make them more powerful. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. This is obviously a proud day for me as an alumnus of UW and we should all be proud of our work supporting Physics in Canada.

Michael Moloney, CEO of the American Institute of Physics, praised all the laureates.

"The inventions being honored this year have revolutionized laser physics", the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on awarding the nine million Swedish crown ($1 million) prize.

He credited the work of all three with "expanding what is possible at the extremes of time, space and forms of matter". Marie Curie remains the only other woman to have achieved the title back in 1903, and was one among the four winners that year.

Related news