Trio win Nobel Physics Prize for laser research

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"I am very, very happy to share this distinction with my former student Donna Strickland and also to share it with Art Ashkin, for whom I have a lot of respect".

Mourou and Strickland's technique, known as chirped pulse amplification, boosts the power of a laser pulse to petawatt (10 W) levels.

It is then passed to through a gain medium, a material that increases the amplitude of the laser waves by a million times or more, and then compressed.

Witness the career status of one of the co-recipients of the just-announced 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics: Dr.

Half the $1 million prize goes to Arthur Ashkin of the United States and the other half will be shared by Gerard Mourou of France and Canada's Donna Strickland. The laser is truly one of the many examples of how a so-called blue sky discovery in a fundamental science eventually may transform our daily lives.

Strickland and Mourou helped develop short and intense laser pulses that can be used medically, including laser eye surgery.

While laser eye surgery is the most familiar application of their work, it has also let scientists probe fundamental forces acting within matter at very high temperatures and pressures, Mr Moloney said.

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

Dr Ashkin, 96, is the oldest ever prize victor.

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Half of the prize money - worth nine million Swedish kronor ($1m or £770,000) - will go to Arthur Ashkin, a retired physicist who was the first to invent "optical tweezers" whilst working at Bell Labs. The economics victor in 2012, Lloyd Shapley, was 89.

The work of the three winners constitutes "fundamental breakthroughs in physics that led to tools that are now being used all over science", said Robbert Dijkgraaf, director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. "I think... it's somewhat thinking outside the box to stretch first, and then amplify. And I did not know that she was that she", Strickland said.

"Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists because we are out there and hopefully in time it will start to move forward at a faster rate", she told a news conference by telephone, shortly after learning of the prize she won.

The Guelph-born Strickland, who is an associate professor at Waterloo, told the academy she was left in disbelief when she got the call from Stockholm notifying her of the win, saying she thought it was "crazy".

Further, Strickland is the third female to bag this huge honour in the field of Physics. Marie Curie remains the only other woman to have achieved the title back in 1903, and was one among the four winners that year.

In 2008, she was named a fellow of the Optical Society of America for her pioneering work in the field of ultrafast laser and optical science.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today chose to conferred the Nobel Prize 2018 on Arthur Ashkin (USA), Gérard Mourou (France) and Donna Strickland (Canada) in physics for "groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics".

Ashkin, 96, was honoured for his invention of "optical tweezers" that grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells with their laser beam fingers.

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