Jewish scientist awarded Nobel Prize for ‘groundbreaking’ laser physics work
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Jewish scientist awarded Nobel Prize for ‘groundbreaking’ laser physics work

Arthur Ashkin scoops half the award for his work developing 'optical tweezers' that can grab tiny particles

Arthur Ashkin (L), Gerard Mourou (C) and Donna Strickland (R)
Arthur Ashkin (L), Gerard Mourou (C) and Donna Strickland (R)

A Jewish scientist has been awarded the Nobel Prize for physics alongside two other academics, recognised for advances in laser technology.

The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences awarded half the nine million kronor (£770,000) prize, half to Jewish scientist Arthur Ashkin of the United States and the other half  for Gerard Mourou of France and Canada’s Donna Strickland, for “groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics”.

The academy said Mr Ashkin developed “optical tweezers” that can grab tiny particles such as viruses without damaging them.

Ashkin was born in New York in 1922 to parents Isadore and Anna, Jewish immigrants who arrived in the U.S. from Odessa and Galicia.

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

The awarding of the prize to Ms Strickland ended a drought for women winning any of the prestigious prizes.

Ms 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.

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