American Jew Arthur Ashkin, Frenchman Gérard Mourou and Canadian Donna Strickland won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their “innovative inventions in the field of laser physics,” reported the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Half of the prize goes to Ashkin. Ashkin was awarded “for the optical tweezers and their application in biological systems” and the other jointly for Mourou and Strickland for “their method for generating ultra-short, high-intensity optical impulses,” which have “opened up new areas of research and led to many industrial and medical applications.

Ashkin was born in 1922 in New York and received his doctorate from Cornell University in the United States; Mourou was born in Albertville (France) in 1944 and received his doctorate from the University of Paris in Orsay, while Stirckland was born in 1959 in Guelph (Canada) and currently works at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

From left - Nobel Laureates Donna Strickland, Gérard Mourou, Arthur Ashkin
From left - Nobel Laureates Donna Strickland, Gérard Mourou, Arthur Ashkin

The Medicine award was announced yesterday as part of a series of awards for this year’s event, followed by the Physics, Chemistry, Peace and finally Economics awards, which will be announced on Monday next week.

Each of the awardees is granted this year  9 million Swedish crowns (1.02 million dollars), to be distributed in case there is more than one awardee.

The prizes are awarded on the 10th of December, coinciding with the anniversary of the death of its founder, Alfred Nobel, in a double ceremony at the Konserthus in Stockholm and at the Oslo City Hall, where the Peace Prize is awarded.