Nobel Prize for Physics goes to US, Canadian scientists

Jan Cross
October 4, 2018

"It was just a fun thing to do, and so I enjoyed putting many hours into it", she said of her work with short-pulse lasers more than 30 years ago. The Swedish academy praised them for developing a way to increase the power and usefulness of lasers.

Monday, Oct. 8: Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences will be awarded.

The other half of this year's prize was awarded to Dr. Arthur Ashkin, who also won for his work revolutionizing laser physics.

She went on to receive her first degree in the field of physics in 1981, graduating from McMaster University.

Ashkin discovered that the "radiation pressure" from a beam of light could be used to move extremely small objects and hold them in position.

Michael Moloney, chief executive of the American Institute of Physics, praised all the laureates. "Mourou and Strickland did much of their groundbreaking work together at the University of Rochester in the United States".

Chirped pulse amplification has been used to study the properties of light and its interactions with particles, as well as laser micromachining to carefully cut into materials for chips or even laser eye surgery.

Commenting on the announcement, Jim Al-Khalili, the president of the British Science Association, said: "It is quite shocking to know that she is only the third woman to win a physics Nobel ever".

Strickland, of the University of Waterloo, Canada, becomes only the third woman to win a Nobel prize for physics.

On top of that, Arnault also has been suspected of violating century-old Nobel rules by leaking names of winners of the prestigious award - allegedly seven times, starting in 1996.

The crisis forced the academy to cancel this year's literature award in May. The economics victor in 2012, Lloyd Shapley, was 89.

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The oldest winners of the prizes established by the will were 88 - Doris Lessing for literature and Raymond Davis for physics.

It's immediately followed by this: "The red-haired college professor, mother of two, is the first woman residing in America to win a Nobel physics prize, the second woman in history". "I think... it's somewhat thinking outside the box to stretch first, and then amplify".

"I told her she doesn't have to submit a very long CV, one line will be sufficient", he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

The 59-year-old Guelph, Ont., native made the discovery while completing her PhD at the University of Rochester in NY and will share half of the US$1.01-million prize with her doctoral adviser, French physicist Gerard Mourou.

Strickland said in a telephone interview with the academy at a press conference that she was happy and surprised to be receiving the prize, which she looked forward to accepting in Stockholm in December.

On Monday, two immunologists, James Allison of the USA and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won this year's Nobel Medicine Prize for research into how the body's natural defences can fight cancer.

The first was awarded to a woman in 1903 when Marie Curie won for her work on radioactivity. And he's now at the École Polytechnique in Palaiseau in France, and also affiliated with the University of MI in the United States.

Arthur Ashkin invented optical tweezers that grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells with their laser beam fingers.

This year's award will be announced Tuesday.

Last year's physics prize went to three Americans who used abstruse theory and ingenious equipment design to detect the faint ripples in the universe called gravitational waves.

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