Science

Arthur Ashkin, 2 others win Nobel Physics Prize for laser research

Arthur Ashkin, 2 others win Nobel Physics Prize for laser research”

Frenchman Gerard Mourou of the Ecole Polytechnique and University of MI shares have the prize's 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) with Strickland; Ashkin gets the other half.

Arthur Ashkin, Ph.D. '52, whose invention of "optical tweezers" realized his own science fiction dream of being able to move objects with light, was among three physicists named by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences as winners of this year's Nobel Prize in physics.

Strickland is the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize in physics since 1963, when Maria Goeppert-Mayer was recognized for her work on nuclear shell structure.

Ms Strickland said in a phone call with the academy after she was announced as one of the winners: 'I'm honoured to be one of those women.

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

"Obviously we need to celebrate woman physicists because we're out there".

Gérard Mourou, one of three scientists to win the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, is shown during a conference in Paris, France, in 2015. "Really? I thought there might've been more", Strickland replied. As a result of this work, he won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1997. His story was based on reports from VOANews.com, the Associated Press, Reuters and the Nobel Prize website.

Two of Tuesday's Nobel Prize winners enabled new studies of matter by allowing scientists to produce more powerful bursts of laser light, an official of the American Institute of Physics says.

Strickland, was co-winner Mourou's student at the University of Rochester in NY, is a professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

"The most fun part of my day is when I get to play with my lasers", she told The Record in 2010.

According to Ian Musgrave of Britain's Central Laser Facility, optical tweezers make it possible to use lasers to manipulate very small objects, such as beads of glass or oil droplets, to position them precisely or control the environment around them. If a pulse is compressed in time and becomes shorter, then more light is packed together in the same tiny space - the intensity of the pulse increases dramatically.

Ashkin used his new tool to hold a particle in place, then an atom, and eventually, in 1987, a living bacterium. Its uses include the millions of corrective eye surgeries that are conducted every year using the sharpest of laser beams. The academy said their 1985 article on the technique was "revolutionary".

The awards, endowed by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, are each worth 9 million kronor ($1m) this year.

Last year, United States astrophysicists Barry Barish, Kip Thorne and Rainer Weiss won the physics prize for the discovery of gravitational waves, predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago as part of his theory of general relativity.

An image provided by the Royal Academy of Sciences on October 2, 2018, shows the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics, from left to right: American Arthur Ashkin, Frenchman Gerard Mourou and Canada's Donna Strickland.

The victor or winners of the Nobel chemistry prize will be announced tomorrow, followed by the peace prize on Thursday.



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