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2018 Nobel Prize in Physics

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  • 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the NobelPrize in Physics 2018 “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” with one half to Arthur Ashkin and the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland.

    Nobel Laureate Arthur Ashkin has been awarded the NobelPrize in Physics “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems.”

    Nobel Laureates Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland have been awarded the NobelPrize in Physics “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.”

    This year’s NobelPrize inventions revolutionised laser physics. Extremely small objects and incredibly fast processes now appear in a new light. Advanced precision instruments are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications.

    Arthur Ashkin, awarded the 2018 NobelPrize had a dream: imagine if beams of light could be put to work and made to move objects. He realised his dream by creating a light trap, which became known as optical tweezers.

    Ashkin’s optical tweezers grab particles, atoms and molecules with their laser beam fingers. They can examine and manipulate viruses, bacteria and other living cells without damaging them. New opportunities for observing and controlling the machinery of life have been created.

    Science fiction has become a reality. Optical tweezers make it possible to observe, turn, cut, push and pull with light. In many laboratories, laser tweezers are used to study biological processes, such as proteins, molecular motors, DNA or the inner life of cells.

    Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland – this year’s NobelPrize recipients – 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.

    Mourou and Strickland’s technique is known as chirped pulse amplication, 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.
    Source: Nobel Twitter.

  • #2
    Donna Strickland (Canada) is the third woman in history to recieve the nobelprize in physics, the other two were Marie Curie (1903) and Maria Goeppert-Mayer (1963).


    • #3
      Small scientific breakthroughs (no paradigm shifts, just lots of hard work) that impact strongly the quality of everyday life. Definitely in the remit of the Nobel Prize. Good job to the recipients!