American Among 3 Nobel Winners in Physics for Laser Research - NBC New York
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American Among 3 Nobel Winners in Physics for Laser Research

Canadian Donna Strickland is the first woman to be named a Nobel laureate since 2015

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    American Among 3 Nobel Winners in Physics for Laser Research
    Fernando Vergara/AP, File
    In this April 17, 2015, file photo a national library employee shows the gold Nobel Prize medal awarded to the late novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in Bogota, Colombia. This year’s round of Nobel Prizes begins Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, with the award for medicine or physiology, honoring research into the microscopic mechanisms of life and ways to fend off the invaders who cut it short.

    Three scientists from the United States, France and Canada have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for advances in laser physics.

    The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences on Tuesday awarded half the 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize to Arthur Ashkin of the United States and the other half will be shared by Gerard Mourou of France and Canada's Donna Strickland.

    The academy says Ashkin developed "optical tweezers" that can grab tiny particles such as viruses without damaging them.

    Strickland and Mourou helped develop short and intense laser pulses that have broad industrial and medical applications.

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    The 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize, which can be shared by as many as three people, is decided by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

    Strickland is the first woman to be named a Nobel laureate since 2015. She is also only the third to have won the physics prize — the first was Marie Curie in 1903.

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

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

    Last year's physics prize went to three Americans who used abstruse theory and ingenious equipment design to detect the faint ripples in the universe called gravitational waves.

    On Monday, American James Allison and Japan's Tasuku Honjo won the Nobel medicine prize for groundbreaking work in fighting cancer with the body's own immune system.

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    The Nobel chemistry prize comes Wednesday, followed by the peace prize on Friday. The economics prize, which is not technically a Nobel, will be announced Oct. 8.