Guelph native wins Nobel Prize in Physics

First woman in 55 years wins physics Nobel prize

First woman in 55 years wins physics Nobel prize

The last time a woman was awarded a Nobel was in 2015, when Youyou Tu was awarded half of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for that year, "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria".

Arthur Ashkin was awarded the prestigious prize for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems.

"Extremely small objects and incredibly fast processes now appear in a new light", it wrote. In 1987, he used a laser to seize and hold bacteria without harming them.

They paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses created by humankind. Their technique is now used in corrective eye surgery, among other things.

Canada's Donna Strickland, the first female Nobel Prize victor in physics since 1963, said Tuesday that women have "come a long way" since the previous laureate, Maria Goeppert Mayer.

After winning the award, Donna Strickland said, "We need to celebrate women physicists because they're out there..."

Donna Strickland is only the third woman to win the Physics Prize. Lasers had been invented around two decades earlier but had hit an intensity plateau because a laser beam that was too powerful could destroy the material used to amplify it.

Dr Strickland and Dr Mourou's technique, called chirped pulse amplification (CPA), became standard for high intensity lasers. Strickland is only the third women to be awarded a Nobel in physics ever.

"Arthur Ashkin's work", she said, "has served as the foundation and inspiration for my work on precision mechanical biophysics".

The development led to a variety of applications including the ability to use lasers as scalpels to aid in eye surgery and to carve the interior of glass without breaking the surface. They first stretched out the laser pulse in time by several orders of magnitude, thereby reducing their peak power, then passed the stretched pulse through an amplifier, and finally compressed the pulse again in time to produce a short pulse with much enhanced power.

2014 - Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura won the physics Nobel for developing the first blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

But the economics prize was not part of the awards established by industrialist Alfred Nobel's will; it was later established by Sweden's central bank in Nobel's honor.

Asked what her first reaction to the news was, Strickland told the press conference announcing the prize, "First of all, you have to think it's insane, so that was my first thought".

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. One of the most notable cases is of British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered pulsars but was passed over for the award, which was given to her supervisor Antony Hewish in 1974.

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