Donna Strickland, Canadian Physicist, Wins Nobel Prize For 'Optical Tweezers'

Donna Strickland, Canadian Physicist, Wins Nobel Prize For 'Optical Tweezers'

Ashkin, who made his discovery while working at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1952 to 1991, is the oldest victor of a Nobel prize, beating out American Leonid Hurwicz who was 90 when he won the 2007 Economics Prize.

A reporter asked the physicist how it felt to be in the company of so few women.

"Really? Is that all?"

The Guelph-born Strickland, who is in her 50s, is an associate professor at Waterloo.

"Obviously, we need to celebrate women physicists because we're out there and hopefully in time it will start to move forward at a faster rate maybe", she said. I don't know what to say. "I'm honoured to be one of those women".

Lasers are devices that create and amplify a single source of light.

Science fiction has become a reality. The short and intense laser pulses that have broad industrial and medical applications.

The committee recognised the scientists for their use of light to create miniature tools. By 1987 he had used the tweezers to capture bacteria, a technique now commonly used to study living systems, including to study the "biological motors" that move molecules within a cell as well as cells themselves. These optical tweezers could then be used to control and direct individual cells, viruses, proteins, and even atoms.

"That of course was the real breakthrough, that one could manipulate such complex objects", Larsson said.

With CPA, Mourou and Strickland shattered this wall, sparking a trend that allowed lasers to, on average, double in intensity twice per decade. It was as though scientists were trying to boil water in a pot that couldn't handle such high temperatures.

Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland developed a method of generating high intensity ultra-short optical pulses.

"It is also a personal delight to see Dr Strickland break the 55-year hiatus since a woman has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, making this year's award all the more historic". Although Ashkin retired from Bell Labs in 1992, he is active in his home laboratory. But Burnell was not among the list of laureates for that prize.

The inventions revolutionized the field, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted in its announcement. The academy said their 1985 article on the technique was "revolutionary".

The inventions by the three scientists date back to the mid-1980s and over the years they have revolutionized laser physics. It's also fundamental for laser eye surgery.

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