A Canadian physicist has received one of science’s highest honours.
Donna Strickland, a professor at the University of Waterloo, is one of three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics and collected the award with a big smile in Sweden today.
The Nobel committee says Strickland and French scientist Gerard Mourou will each receive a quarter of the $1.01 million (U.S.) prize for their joint work on laser physics.
Strickland’s win makes her only the third woman to win the Physics prize, and the first Canadian female scientist to do so.
Her prize-winning work was conducted in the early 1980s while she was completing her PhD under Mourou’s supervision.
She and Mourou discovered Chirped Pulse Amplification, a technique that underpins today’s short-pulse, high-intensity lasers, which have become a key part of corrective eye surgeries.
The 59-year-old native of Guelph, Ont., made the discovery while completing her PhD at the University of Rochester in New York. The other half of the prize went to Arthur Ashkin of the United States, who was the third winner of the award.
The University of Waterloo says it is beaming with pride at Strickland’s achievement.
“Universities around the world would dream of receiving a Nobel Prize amongst their professoriate,” said spokesman Matthew Grant. “This is a huge moment for our Nobel Prize winner, our campus and for Canada as a whole.