Friday, 16 November, 2018

Canadian Donna Strickland third woman to win Nobel physics prize

A portrait of Alfred Nobel the Swedish industrialist and inventor can be seen on a banner at the Nobel Forum in Stockholm Sweden A portrait of Alfred Nobel the Swedish industrialist and inventor can be seen on a banner at the Nobel Forum in Stockholm Sweden
Doris Mccormick | 02 October, 2018, 16:40

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

Ashkin, who is Jewish, is the oldest person ever named as a laureate for any of the prestigious Nobel awards.

Elsewhere, Nobel Laureates Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland received the award for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.

The awards, endowed by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, are each worth 9 million kronor ($1m) this year.

They include the first female physics prize victor in 55 years.

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

Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in the United States won half of the 2018 prize for inventing "optical tweezers" while Strickland shares the remainder with Frenchman Gerard Mourou, who also has USA citizenship, for work on high-intensity lasers.

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Wednesday: Nobel Prize in chemistry will be awarded.

It recognises their discoveries in the field of laser physics.

Strickland said she was honored by the nomination but also emphasized the need for more female participation and acknowledgment in the field. Most notably in 1987, Ashkin used the novel tweezers to capture living bacteria without causing harm to them resulting in the tools being widely used in the machinery of life experimentation.

Ashkin told the Nobel committee that he may not be able to give any interviews because "he is very busy with his latest paper".

"I'm surprised", Ashkin said about winning the prize.

Strickland and Mourou will share the other half, after they were singled out for helping develop laser pulses that can be applied to a broad range of industrial and medical devices.

On Monday, two immunologists, James Allison of the U.S. and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won this year's Nobel Medicine Prize for research into how the body's natural defences can fight cancer.

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