Nobel Prize for Physics goes to US, Canadian scientists

By Emre Aytekin

ANKARA (AA) – The Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to three researchers from the U.S. and Canada for their "groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics".

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories from the U.S. won half of the prize (9-million-kronor or $1.01 million).

France-U.S. dual citizen Gerard Mourou from France’s Ecole Polytechnique, and the University of Michigan as well as Canadian Donna Strickland from the University of Waterloo in Canada, shared the other half of the award.

Strickland, 59, is the third woman who won the prize since 1901.

The Swedish Academy said that Ashkin, 96, — the oldest scientist who won the prize — received the prize "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems", while Mourou and Strickland "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses".

"The inventions being honored this year have revolutionized laser physics. Extremely small objects and incredibly rapid processes are now being seen in a new light," the Nobel committee said in a statement.

“Advanced precision instruments are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications,” the statement added.

Achievements in science, literature, and peace have been awarded annually after businessman Alfred Nobel's name since 1901.