Oct 02 2018 - 10:36
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Laser scientists win 2018 Nobel physics prize for tools made of light

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Laser scientists win 2018 Nobel physics prize for tools made of light
Lebanon News
A trio of American, French and Canadian scientists won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for breakthroughs in laser technology that have turned light beams into precision tools for everything from eye surgery to micro-machining.

Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in the United States won half of the prize for inventing “optical tweezers” while Frenchman Gerard Mourou, who also has U.S. citizenship, and Canada's Donna Strickland shared the other half for work on high-intensity lasers, become the first female physics prize winner in 55 years.
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Strickland, of the University of Waterloo, Canada, becomes only the third woman to win a Nobel prize for physics, after Marie Curie in 1903 and Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said last year it would seek to more actively encourage nominations of women researchers to begin addressing the imbalance.
 The inventions by the three scientists date back to the mid-1980s and over the years they have revolutionized laser physics.

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. A breakthrough came in 1987 when he used the new optical tweezers to grab living bacteria without harming them.

At 96, Ashkin is the oldest ever Nobel prize winner.
 
Mourou and Strickland's research centered on developing the most intense laser pulses ever created by humans, paving the way for the precision instruments used today in corrective eye surgery and industrial applications.

The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace have been awarded since 1901 in accordance with the will of Swedish business tycoon Alfred Nobel, whose discovery of dynamite generated a vast fortune used to fund the prize.

Physics is the second of this year's crop of prizes and comes after the medicine prize was awarded on Monday for  discoveries about how to harness and manipulate the immune system to fight cancer.


REUTERS
 
 
 
 
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