Waterloo professor wins Nobel Prize in Physics

What the Nobel Prizes Are Not

Three scientists from the United States, Canada and France won the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for work with lasers described as revolutionary and bringing science fiction into reality.

Three scientists on Tuesday won the Nobel Physics Prize for inventing optical lasers that have paved the way for advanced precision instruments used in corrective eye surgery and in industry, the jury said. Strickland's work is commendable, yes, but she has become the first woman to "attain" this distinction in 55 years.

Then, in 1987, he used the tweezers to capture living bacteria without harming them.

Speaking by phone shortly after the announcement, Strickland said: "You do always wonder if it's real".

"Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists, because we're out there".

Arthur Ashkin is an American scientist who worked at Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies.

Only two women have won a Physics Nobel before: Marie Curie in 1903 and Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963.

More news: U.S. And Canada Reach Deal To Replace NAFTA

The Canadian said she was honored to be one of the small number of female winners of the physics Nobel so far.

When she received the call this morning telling her about the award, as many Laureates in the past have said, she was in disbelief. Take a short laser pulse, stretch it in time, amplify it and squeeze it together again.

Mourou and Strickland, working at the University of Rochester in the 1980s, sought to increase the power of laser pulses, which had grown slowly since the mid-1960s. What we are looking at is actually a awful failure that has only now begun to rectify itself: that of the Nobel Committee having ignored female candidates for the prize for half a century. The resulting ultra-brief, ultra-sharp beams can be used to make extremely precise cuts and holes in a variety of materials, and have been used in surgery to correct nearsightedness in millions of people.

2012 - Serge Haroche and David J Wineland were awarded the prize for their work with light and matter.

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 was a graduate student at the time; the 1985 article that announced their achievement was her first scientific publication, according to the Nobel website.

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