Published: Tue, October 02, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou, Donna Strickland win Nobel Prize in Physics

Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou, Donna Strickland win Nobel Prize in Physics

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday made a decision to award the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics to Arthur Ashkin (US) as well as jointly to Gerard Mourou (US) and Donna Strickland (Canada).

The academy honored Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in the U.S. for developing "optical tweezers" that can grab tiny particles, like viruses, without damaging them.

It is used most frequently in laser eye surgery, but there are many other applications, including in ultra-fast cameras used for imaging molecular processes. The prize now brings the total number of female recipients of this particular Nobel to three.

Strickland said her first thought on hearing she'd won the physics prize was "it's insane".

One of them, Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, entered the Nobel record books by becoming the oldest laureate at age 96.

The award was granted for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said a year ago it would seek to more actively encourage nominations of women researchers to begin addressing the imbalance.

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Marie Curie, shared the 1903 award with two male scientists for research into radioactivity.

Strickland says her first thought on hearing she'd won the physics prize was "it's insane".

It recognises their discoveries in the field of laser physics.

When she received the call this morning telling her about the award, as many Laureates in the past have said, she was in disbelief.

The technique's "innumerable areas of application have not yet been completely explored", the academy says. "I'm honored to be one of those women", she said.

The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace have been awarded since 1901 in accordance with the will of Swedish business tycoon Alfred Nobel, whose discovery of dynamite generated a vast fortune used to fund the prize.

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