Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West | The Canadian Donna Strickland among the three awarded for the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics
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10 Oct The Canadian Donna Strickland among the three awarded for the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics

Since 1901, Canada has won 19 Nobel Prizes: 5 for medicine, 4 for chemistry, 4 for physics, 3 for economics, 2 for peace and 1 for literature.

Among the extraordinary profiles of the winners of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2018, announced last October 10 in Stockholm by the Royal Academy of Sciences, the name of the Canadian physics Donna Strickland is among the winners, awarded for the “method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses”. Born in Guelph in 1959, Professor Strickland started her excellent career as a PhD student at the University of Rochester (New York), at the time, she participated in the development of the CPA, chirped pulse amplification. She currently teaches at the University of Waterloo. 

“Of course we have to celebrate the victory of a woman who deals with physics, because we’re there,” said Strickland, “hopefully by the time our presence becomes more and more important.” Donna Strickland is the third woman to receive the Nobel Prize for physics, it did not happen since 1963.[1] 

With Arthur Ashkin (American) and Gérard Mourou (dual citizenship: French and American), the other two award-winning scientists in Stockholm, Donna Strickland has made important discoveries in the field of laser, an instrument used today in various disciplines, including medicine, biology and precision industry.   From optical tweezers developed by Ashkin, the properties of the laser studied by Strickland and Mourou, research carried out by three pioneers has produced important results during application, such as use in laboratories for the manipulation of viruses, cells and atoms or in the common eye surgery, focusing on the extreme subtlety and precision of this instrument.

Ashkin, the oldest winner of a Nobel (96 years), won half of the prize – the total prize is 870,000 euros – while Mourou and Strickland will share the other half for the chirped pulse amplification (Cpa), “their method is able to generate ultra-short and high-intensity pulsations,” explained the Nobel Committee, these are the shorter and more intense laser pulses that man has ever created.  

Physics is the first among the disciplines listed by Alfred Nobel in his will, “as the main science,” said the Nobel Foundation and, for the final and secret decision of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Ashkin, Mourou and Strickland have conquered immortality in the annals of science for having “made the highest services to humanity”. 

Since it was established in 1901, the prize was awarded to Canadian excellence in all areas, 19 Nobel Prizes as follows: 5 for medicine, 4 chemistry, 4 for physics, 3 for economics, 2 for peace and 1 for literature.


[1] Before Donna Strickland, to receive the Nobel Prize were: Marie Curie in 1903, for her research on radioactivity, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963, for developments in nuclear physics.

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