February 19, 2019

Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland win physics Nobel

02 October 2018, 04:42 | Dale Webster

Canadian among trio awarded Nobel Prize in Physics

Nobel Physics Prize Awarded to Trio for Laser Work

Arthur Ashkin invented the "optical tweezers", highly focused beams of light that allow you to manipulate microscopic objects and living organisms.

Meanwhile, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland were acknowledged for their crucial work in paving the way "towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created by mankind".

She became emotional when told she was only the third to have won the physics prize - the first being Marie Curie in 1903, while Maria Goeppert Mayer won in 1963. This means that a total of 206 individuals have received the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a woman for the first time in 55 years.

Gérard Mourou, one of three scientists to win the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, is shown during a conference in Paris, France, in 2015.

The awards, endowed by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, are each worth 9 million kronor ($1m) this year. The only other female victor is famed historical physicist Marie Curie.

Jim Al-Khalili, professor of theoretical physics at Britain's University of Surrey, said on Twitter it was "delicious" that Strickland had won the Nobel prize just days after Strumia's "misogynistic" comments.

After winning the award, Donna Strickland said, "We need to celebrate women physicists because they're out there..."

The inventions revolutionized the field, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted in its announcement. Their discoveries "opened up new areas of research and led to broad industrial and medical applications", the academy said.

Ashkin is the oldest ever Nobel prize victor - but the 96-year-old is still busy with fresh research. "I thought there might have been more but I couldn't think", said the physicist during the ceremony.

On Monday, American James Allison and Japan's Tasuku Honjo won the Nobel medicine prize for groundbreaking work in fighting cancer with the body's own immune system.

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