New Delhi: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has on Tuesday awarded three scientists with the Nobel Physics Prize for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics. The award recipients include Arthur Ashkin, Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland - the first woman to win a Nobel Physics Prize in the last 55 years.
Strickland is just the third woman to win a Nobel Physics Prize since it was first awarded in 1901. She is a student of Mourou and is an associate professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Born on May 27, 1959, Donna Theo Strickland is a Canadian physicist, academician and now, a Nobel laureate. Strickland jointly holds one half of the award with her former PhD advisor Mourou, while the other half has been given to Ashkin.
Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses created by humankind. The technique they developed opened up new areas of research and led to broad industrial and medical applications. Their technique is now used in corrective eye surgery.
Mourou and Strickland's technique is known as chirped pulse amplification, CPA. Take a short laser pulse, stretch it in time, amplify it and squeeze it together again. Ultra-sharp laser beams make it possible to cut or drill holes in various materials extremely precisely – even in living matter. Millions of eye operations are performed every year with the sharpest of laser beams.