Canadian Scientist Dr Donna Strickland Becomes Third Woman in History to Win a Nobel Prize For Physics
Following in the footsteps of Marie Curie, University of Waterloo professor Dr Donna Strickland won the Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday. Frustratingly, only one other woman has received this award between Curie’s win in 1903 and Strickland’s in 2018.
Dialling in by telephone to the press conference held at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Strickland was informed by reporters that she’s only the third female Laureate to win this award. “Is that all, really? I thought there might have been more,” she responded, adding, “Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists because we’re out there, and hopefully in time it’ll start to move forward at a faster rate. I’m honoured to be one of those women.”
The woman preceding her as a Laureate—Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who won the prize in 1963—Strickland rightly considers a trailblazer, noting in her interview with Adam Smith of NobelPrize.org that she even cited Goeppert-Mayer’s work in her now-award-winning thesis.
Strickland will share the prize with American physicist Dr. Arthur Ashkin and French scientist Dr. Gérard Mourou, the latter whom she worked with in the field of laser physics on a technique called chirped pulse amplification that led to, according to the Guardian, “the shortest, most intense laser beams ever created.” These ultra-sharp beams are used to perform laser eye surgery and to cut or drill precise holes in various materials, including living matter.
As Broadly notes, “Her triumph is all the sweeter as it comes just days after a prestigious nuclear research centre in Geneva was forced to suspend a senior researcher after he claimed that physics was “invented and built by men.””
Way to show him up, Dr Strickland.