Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland win physics Nobel

A portrait of Alfred Nobel the Swedish industrialist and inventor can be seen on a banner at the Nobel Forum in Stockholm Sweden

A portrait of Alfred Nobel the Swedish industrialist and inventor can be seen on a banner at the Nobel Forum in Stockholm Sweden

This year's Nobel Prize in Physics has been "split" - with one half going to Arthur Ashkin, an American who won for his work with optical tweezers, while Gérard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada share the other half for work in generating high-intensity ultra-short optical pulses.

Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada together developed a method to intensify laser beams in short pulses, which led to a number of applications, including laser eye surgery.

"Hopefully in time it'll start to move forward at a faster rate, maybe".

Soon after discovering optical tweezers, Ashkin and his colleagues used it to study delicate biological systems such as the protein kinesin.

These days, though, scientific research is "a hobby more or less", he told the official website of the Nobel Prize.

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

"Support the professional development of young women, give them opportunities to talk and network, mentor them and nominate them for prizes, Nobel or otherwise".

But, she added: "I think there is a large list of barriers that women have to overcome including unconscious bias, different expectations and demands on their time". I do not have to go through what they went through because there were women out there paving the way for us.

"Arthur Ashkin's work", she said, "has served as the foundation and inspiration for my work on precision mechanical biophysics". But they did not affect this year's prize: "It's important to remember that the Nobel Prize is awarded for discoveries and inventions, and those who receive it have made major contributions to humankind, and that's why they get the prize".

Strickland noted she has not personally experienced fundamental inequality and believes the field is ready to give women a more prominent place.

At 96 years old, he is the oldest person ever named as a laureate for any of the global awards. Marie Curie, who researched radioactive substances and remains the only woman to win two Nobel prizes, won the prize for physics in 1903.

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.

Asked what her first reaction to the news was, Strickland told the press conference announcing the prize, "First of all, you have to think it's insane, so that was my first thought".

The victor or winners of the Nobel chemistry prize will be announced tomorrow, followed by the peace prize on Thursday. He is six years older than Leonid Hurwicz was when he was awarded the 2007 economics prize.

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