ibusinesslines.com October 15, 2018

American, Frenchman, Canadian win Nobel for work with lasers

04 October 2018, 08:57 | Justin Tyler

3 scientists win Nobel Prize in physics for laser inventions

Laser pioneers win Nobel Physics Prize

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today made a decision to conferred the Nobel Prize 2018 on Arthur Ashkin (USA), Gérard Mourou (France) and Donna Strickland (Canada) in physics for "groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics".

Noting that Strickland is the first woman in 55 years to win a physics Nobel, Moloney said that gap is "way too long".

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.

The Nobel Prize for Physics of the Year will be shared by Arthur Ashkin of America, Jarred Mourou of France, and Donna Strickland from Canada, for the underlying innovation in the field of laser physics.

Dr Strickland stressed on the need to support female physicists, as she stated at a news conference, "we need to celebrate women physicists because they're out there..."

Commenting on her achievements, she emphasized how she "tries to think outside of the box".

"Advanced precision instruments are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications", the academy said yesterday on awarding the nine million Swedish crown (S$1.37 million) prize.

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

Ashkin's work was based on the realisation that the pressure of a beam of light could push microscopic objects and trap them in position.

"We needed a new way to create the peak power of laser pulses", said Michael Moloney, chief executive officer of the group. The academy said their 1985 article on the technique was "revolutionary". She and Mourou found a way to produce a powerful laser pulse that lasts an nearly unimaginably short period of time.

When asked this morning about the groundbreaking discovery, Strickland said, "It's thinking outside the box to stretch first and then amplify". If a pulse is compressed in time and becomes shorter, then more light is packed together in the same tiny space and the intensity of the pulse increases dramatically.

Donna Strickland, a University of Waterloo professor who helped to pioneer the development of lasers that produce brief but intense pulses of light for a range of applications, has been named a victor of this year's Nobel Prize in physics.

These became the standard for high-intensity lasers, for example used in millions of corrective eye surgeries per year.

The Frenchman also ran the Forum club, a meeting place for the cultural elite and popular among aspiring young authors hoping to make contact with publishers and writers. "We should never lose the fact that we are moving forward. Since we get to know how they happened, we are able to steer it (the process), and we can use our knowledge to design what is going to happen". The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said past year it would seek to more actively encourage nominations of women researchers to begin addressing the imbalance.

The CERN controversy - and the overall lack of female Nobel winners - has highlighted the obstacles that women often face in science fields, particularly in physics. "Mother Wins Nobel Physics Prize".

"This just reinforces how important it is to have these type of institutions in the scientific infrastructure of the country; it's going to help us continue to recruit first quality students and employees and it shows, I think the impact of the research that's done at the university", he told WXXI News.

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