Nobel Prize in Physics shared by first woman in 55 years

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Half the $1 million prize goes to Arthur Ashkin of the United States and the other half will be shared by Gerard Mourou of France and Canada's Donna Strickland.

Donna Strickland, associate professor at Ontario's University of Waterloo, was honoured on Tuesday for being half of the team to discover Chirped Pulse Amplification, a technique that underpins today's short-pulse, high-intensity lasers.

Donna Strickland, a University of Waterloo professor who helped to pioneer the development of lasers that produce brief but intense pulses of light for a range of applications, has been named a victor of this year's Nobel Prize in physics. In 1987, he used the tweezers to grasp living bacteria without harming them, according to the academy statement.

Mourou and Strickland paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created by mankind.

"We need to celebrate women physicists because we're out there and hopefully, in time, it'll start to move forward at a faster rate", she said to the Nobel press conference.

The Nobel Prize will be just the latest accolade Dr Strickland has received for her work.

"Donna Strickland was born in 1959 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and she's now at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Drs". He was awarded one half of the prize.

They are also used to cut living matter and each year millions of eye operations are performed around the world with the sharpest of laser beams.

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The award comes a few days after a physicist gave a "highly offensive" lecture at the Cern particle physics laboratory in Geneva in which he said that physics had been "built by men" and that male scientists were being discriminated against.

Ashkin's work was based on the realization that the pressure of a beam of light could push microscopic objects and trap them in position. Arthur Ashkin, the American who developed "optical tweezers", became the oldest Nobel Prize laureate at age 96.

When asked this morning about the groundbreaking discovery, Strickland said, "It's thinking outside the box to stretch first and then amplify". However, even now these celebrated inventions allow us to rummage around in the microworld in the best spirit of Alfred Nobel - for the greatest benefit to humankind. CPA systems have also found applications in industry, for high-precision treatment of materials, and in medicine for corrective eye surgery and, potentially, cancer treatment.

"I am busy working right now, writing an important paper on solar energy", he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Originally developed as a means to increase the power of radar in the 1960s, the technology was developed in its current form in the 1980s by Strickland and Mourou.

Arthur Ashkin, a Rumson resident awarded the Nobel Prize for physics on Tuesday, discusses his career.

Likewise, the Nobel Prize in economics will be declared on October 8.

This is the 50th Nobel awarded to a woman, in total since the prize began in 1901, however two of those prizes were awarded to Marie Curie - for Physics in 1903 and for Chemistry in 1911.