According to the jury's decision of the Swedish Academy, the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Arthur Askin (USA), Gérard Mourou (France) and Donna Strickland (Canada), for its "innovative inventions in the field of laser physics".
A woman had not won the Nobel Prize in Physics for 55 years.
Canadian scientist Donna Strickland She has become the third woman who goes down in the history of the most distinguished awards in the field of science, along with Marie Curie Y Maria Goeppert-Mayer. Specifically, Strickland has been supported by "its method of generating ultra-short and high intensity optical pulses."
Donna Strickland He was born in 1959 in Guelph, Canada. He studied physics at McMaster University in Canada and obtained his PhD in optics from the University of Rochester in the United States. Strickland recalls that on his first visit to a laser research laboratory he thought that "the colors resembled a Christmas tree."
The new Strickland and Mourou technique, called CPA (chirped pulse amplification) soon became standard for subsequent high intensity lasers. Its uses include the millions of corrective eye surgeries that are performed each year using the sharpest laser beams.
Thanks to a new approach, they managed to create ultra-short high intensity laser pulses without destroying the amplifying material. First, they stretched the laser pulses over time to reduce their maximum power, and then amplified them and finally compressed them.
By compressing the pulse over time and making it shorter, more light can gather in the same small space, dramatically increasing the intensity of the pulse.
The last woman before Strickland who won the Nobel Prize in Physics was the American scientist born in Germany Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was awarded in 1963 for her discoveries about the nucleus of atoms. Marie Curie shared in 1903 the Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and with Antoine Henri Becquerel for his research on radioactivity.