Monday, 19 November, 2018

Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 Awarded For Revolutionary Work in Lasers

What the Nobel Prizes Are Not The Nobel Prize medal. Credit robynmack96/Flickr CC BY 2.0
Kristen Harrington | 03 October, 2018, 14:28

Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland developed a method of generating high intensity ultra-short optical pulses.

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a trio of researchers for their work in developing powerful lasers.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has chose to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 "for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics" with one half to Arthur Ashkin and the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland. "So that was my first thought and you do always wonder if it's real", Strickland said during a press briefing this morning at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Sweden.

Ashkin grabbed onto that opportunity in 1970, with a landmark paper in Physical Review Letters in which he demonstrated the use of focused beams from continuous-wave lasers to trap and move small dielectric particles.

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The developments have led to advanced precision instruments that are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications, it added.

Strickland and Mourou worked together on laser amplification, producing the shortest and most intense bursts of laser energy ever created by humans. In a report published in 1985, Strickland proposed stretching and then compressing laser light.

Physicist Donna Strickland, a self-described "laser jock" who prefers to keep a low profile, won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday, becoming the third woman ever to do so - an achievement she described as "surreal".

The woman, a writer and academic whose name has not been released publicly, said she did not come forward earlier because Arnault was friends with her boss, and she feared for her professional livelihood.

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In ruins and without a quorum to make key decisions, the Academy postponed this year's Nobel Literature Prize, a first in 70 years. These optical tweezers could then be used to control and direct individual cells, viruses, proteins, and even atoms.

Dr Strickland shares this year's prize with Arthur Ashkin from the U.S., and Gerard Mourou from France.

Mr Ashkin's tweezers can be used to hold and manipulate proteins, DNA and other biomolecules to study their mechanical properties or stimulate them, said Erwin Peterman, a physicist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, who called the award "a great recognition for this visionary scientist who was ahead of his time".

Strickland said when asked for her reaction this morning.

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Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, followed by Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963. 'We are taking measures to encourage more nominations because we don't want to miss anyone, ' Hansson said, but pointed out that it is part of a long process that will take years to take effect.

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