For first time in 55 years, Woman wins Nobel Prize in Physics

For first time in 55 years, Woman wins Nobel Prize in Physics

Stockholm, Oct 2 For the first time in 55 years, a woman from Canada won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Donna Strickland is only the third woman winner of the award, along with Marie Curie, who won in 1903, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was awarded the prize in 1963.

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

It recognises their discoveries in the field of laser physics.

Dr Ashkin developed a laser technique described as optical tweezers, which is used to study biological system.The last woman to win the physics prize, German-born American physicist Maria Goeppert-Mayer, took the prize for her discoveries about the nuclei of atoms.

Polish-born physicist Marie Curie shared the 1903 award with her husband Pierre Curie and Antoine Henri Becquerel for their research into radioactivity.

The award is worth a total of nine million Swedish kronor.

Cern scientist suspended after comments

Reacting to her win, Dr Strickland, who is based at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said, "First of all you have to think it's crazy, so that was my first thought. And you do always wonder if it's real."

"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. And I'm so happy Art Ashkin also won."

She added, "I think that he made so many discoveries early on that other people have done great things with that it's fantastic that he is finally recognised."

To get round this, the researchers first stretched the laser pulses in time to reduce their peak power, then amplified them and finally compressed them.

When a laser pulse is compressed in time and becomes shorter, more light is packed into a small space. This dramatically increases the intensity of the pulse.

Strickland and Mourou's technique, called chirped pulse amplification (CPA), became standard for high intensity lasers. It also found a use in laser therapy targeting cancer and in the millions of corrective laser eye surgeries which are performed each year. (UNI)