With No Nobel Prize in Literature This Year, Another Award Steps In

03 Octobre, 2018, 14:31 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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Mourou, who is from France, and Strickland from Canada, jointly received the award "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses".

The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences on said half the almost $1.29-million prize goes to Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, and the other half will be shared by Strickland and Gérard Mourou.

The crisis forced the Swedish Academy to cancel this year's literature prize, which would have been announced this month, and prompted some of its 18 members to quit.

"This new tool allowed Ashkin to realize an old dream of science-fiction - using the radiation pressure of light to move physical objects", the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

The developments have led to advanced precision instruments that are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications, it added.

In papers published in Science and Nature in 1987, Ashkin and several colleagues demonstrated the optical trapping and manipulation of viruses and bacteria.

The other half of the 2018 Physics prize recognized the work by Mourou and Strickland that enabled the spectacular rise in the power of ultra-short-pulse lasers since 1985.

The duo invented what is called chirped pulse amplification, a process in which laser pulses are stretched in time, amplified and then compressed.

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Strickland is the third female physics laureate to win the prize, and the first since Maria Goeppert-Mayer who won 55 years ago for her discoveries about the nuclei of atoms.

Nobel laureate Donna Strickland says her first thought on hearing she'd won the physics prize was "it's insane".

"First of all, you have to think it is insane!" said Professor Strickland, on hearing the news.

Ashkin is American, Mourou is French and Strickland is Canadian.

Strickland said she was honored by the nomination but also emphasized the need for more female participation and acknowledgment in the field.

It was developed when they were both researchers at the University of Rochester and has been employed to create some of the most powerful lasers in laboratories worldwide. The technique is today used in corrective eye surgery. Their technique puts more light "in the same tiny space", greatly increasing its intensity.

Frenchman Gerard Mourou of the Ecole Polytechnique and University of MI will share half of the NZ$1.5 million the prize carries with Ms Strickland; Mr Ashkin gets the other half.

The prize "will be awarded when the Swedish Academy has won back the public's trust", he told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio. I do not have to go through what they went through because there were women out there paving the way for us.

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