Science

2 former University of Rochester scientists share the Nobel Prize in Physics

2 former University of Rochester scientists share the Nobel Prize in Physics

Dr Strickland, along with Arthur Ashkin, from the United States and Gérard Mourou, from France, were awarded the prize on Tuesday "for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics". Arthur Ashkin, an American physicist who was awarded the first half of the prize for inventing optical tweezers, told the newspaper, "It's all about the light".

The inventions revolutionized the field, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted in its announcement.

Strickland said she and Mourou were well aware that they were onto something in 1982 when they began researching ways to allow lasers to perform high-intensity, ultra-short pulses that would not damage the equipment.

The high-intensity lasers are now used in eye surgeries, data storage and to investigate subatomic particles at resolutions never before realized.

Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 for her discovery of radiation, and the first woman to win twice after receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911.

"Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists", Strickland said shortly after learning of the prize. "I'm honoured to be one of those women", she said.

Strickland's part in the award was made in December 1985, with the publication of her doctoral dissertation while at the University of Rochester.

The American scientist will receive half of the prize money for what the academy called "optical tweezers".




The inventions by the three scientists date back to the mid-1980s and over the years they have revolutionised laser physics. The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics was announced today in Stockholm, Sweden.

Steven Adie, assistant professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, was inspired by Ashkin's early work to come up with a way to use pressure from pulses of laser light to create sub-nanometer shifting of micron-sized particles embedded in soft tissue-like media. Arthur Ashkin of the United States and Canadian Donna Strickland also share the prize.

The Canadian said she was honored to be one of the small number of female winners of the physics Nobel so far. 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.

Prof Ashkin told the Nobel committee that he may not be able to give any interviews because "he is very busy with his latest paper". "Is that all? I thought there might have been more". The interesting thing about Ashkin's tool (Apart from the fact that it is made of frigging light!) is that it can be used to reach right inside a cell without damaging the living systems. Mourou was her supervisor.

He says the focus the Nobel Prize brings to the university's lab will enhance its already solid reputation.

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

Achievements in science, literature, and peace have been awarded annually after businessman Alfred Nobel's name since 1901.


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