The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has made a decision to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 "for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics" with one half to Arthur Ashkin and the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland.
The 2018 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to scientists who advanced the development of lasers into fields as different as eye surgery and manipulating objects as tiny as viruses and other living cells, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Tuesday in Stockholm. "So that was my first thought and you do always wonder if it's real", Strickland said during a press briefing this morning at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Sweden. However, in this celebratory narrative, let us not get carried away by Strickland's achievement - that of a woman winning the physics Nobel Prize - because it is not an achievement.
Strickland said her first thought on hearing she'd won the physics prize was "it's insane". This consideration automatically renders its male laureates - especially white male laureates from the U.S. and Europe, the overwhelming fraction - as being bearers of an extreme privilege apart from also being men who undertook commendable scientific work.
Nobel laureate Donna Strickland says her first thought on hearing she'd won the physics prize was "it's insane". The technique boosts the power of a pulse of laser light.
Around the same time, Mourou and Strickland were working together at the University of Rochester to overcome a problem that had dogged laser research for decades: High intense laser beams tended to destroy the material used to amplify them.
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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.
Mourou and Strickland's CPA method has been used to help millions of people with laser eye surgery, and the cameras that use their technology can capture chemical interactions or even electrons in motion around an atom.
Chirped pulse amplification stretches, intensifies, and then compresses light for an ultra-short high intensity laser pulse.
The associate professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Canada's University of Waterloo has spent much of her life studying and teaching physics, and describes her research as "fun". One morning, after he had left them overnight, the samples contained large particles that moved "hither and thither", as the Nobel committee charmingly put it.
However, the Nobel Committee responsible for selecting laureates has exacerbated the issue by ignoring women laureates for the physics prize for 55 years.