First woman wins Physics Nobel prize in 55 years

First woman wins Physics Nobel prize in 55 years

First woman wins Physics Nobel prize in 55 years

Scientists Arthur Ashkin, Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics for breakthroughs in the field of lasers, the award-giving body said on Tuesday.

Ashkin, who in 1987 had used the tweezers to capture living bacteria without harming them, is the oldest victor of a Nobel prize, beating American Leonid Hurwicz, who was 90 when he won the 2007 Economics Prize.

Strickland is the third ever woman to win the prize, first awarded in 1901.

A Canadian scientist who became only the third woman to win the Nobel Prize for Physics said her personal triumph doubles as a sign of progress for her male-dominated industry.

After winning the award, Donna Strickland said, "We need to celebrate women physicists because they're out there... I don't know what to say, I'm honored to be one of these women", she said.

"I am busy working right now, writing an important paper on solar energy", he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

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2012 - Serge Haroche and David J Wineland were awarded the prize for their work with light and matter.

Strickland had became attracted to laser physics for not only scientific but also aesthetic reasons: She noticed the green and red beams that shone throughout Mourou's lab like a Christmas tree. In many laboratories, laser tweezers are used to study biological processes, such as proteins, molecular motors, DNA or the inner life of cells.

Mourou, 74, now a professor at the École Polytechnique in France, was Strickland's academic advisor at the University of Rochester in NY in the 1980s, where together they created chirped pulse amplification, or CPA.

Strickland said she and Mourou were well aware that they were onto something in 1982 when they began researching ways to allow lasers to perform high-intensity, ultra-short pulses that would not damage the equipment. These optical tweezers could then be used to control and direct individual cells, viruses, proteins, and even atoms.

"As far as sharing it with Gerard, of course he was my supervisor and mentor and he has taken CPA (Chirped Pulse Amplification) to great heights so he definitely deserves this award". He started his work on manipulation of microparticles with laser light in the late 1960s which resulted in the invention of optical tweezers in 1986. In research that would be used for Strickland's doctoral thesis, the pair manipulated beams of light to make them more powerful.

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