Canadian among trio awarded Nobel Prize in Physics
02 October, 2018, 16:42
Many (presumably under the age of 55) pointed out that this was the first time in their lifetime a woman had won the award.
Dr Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in the United States won half of the prize for inventing "optical tweezers" while Frenchman Gerard Mourou, who also has USA citizenship, and Canada's Donna Strickland shared the other half for work on high-intensity lasers. And, for the first time in more than half a century, a woman - Donna Strickland - is one of the winners.
"This year's prize is about tools made from light", said the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm in their announcement on Tuesday. The only other female victor is famed historical physicist Marie Curie.
Strickland is the third woman to get the Nobel Prize in Physics, following Marie Curie in 1903 and Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963.
Ashkin, of Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, is being honored for his invention of optical tweezers; these laser beam fingers can grab the teensy living cells, including particles, atoms and viruses.
Jim Al-Khalili, professor of theoretical physics at Britain's University of Surrey, said on Twitter it was "delicious" that Strickland had won the Nobel prize just days after Strumia's "misogynistic" comments. The technique they developed opened up new areas of research and led to broad industrial and medical applications. In 1987, he used the tweezers to grasp living bacteria without harming them, according to the academy statement.
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 thought there might have been more but I couldn't think", said the physicist during the ceremony.
The Nobel chemistry prize comes Wednesday, followed by the peace prize on Friday.
On Monday, two immunologists, James Allison of the United States 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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