The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded on Tuesday (Oct 2) to Arthur Ashkin of the United States, Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada for harnessing one of the most ineffable aspects of nature, pure light, into a mighty microscopic force. Dr. Strickland, a self-described “laser jock,” is only the third woman to win the physics prize, for work she did as a graduate student with Dr. Mourou.
Dr. Ashkin will receive half of the monetary prize, worth about $1 million; Dr. Mourou and Dr. Strickland will split the remainder.
The Nobel committee recognized the scientists for their work in transforming laser light into miniature tools. Dr. Ashkin invented “optical tweezers,” which use the pressure from a highly focused laser beam to manipulate microscopic objects, including living organisms such as viruses and bacteria.
Dr. Strickland and Dr. Mourou developed a method of generating high-intensity, ultrashort laser pulses, known as chirped pulse amplification.
The work has had a wide range of real-world applications, enabling manufacturers to drill tiny, precise holes and allowing for the invention of Lasik eye surgery.
- Source: News websites