Nobel Prize in Physics – 2018


On Tuesday, 02 October 2018, Arthur Ashkin of the United States, who pioneered a way of using light to manipulate physical objects, shared the first half of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. The second half was divided equally between Gérard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses. With this announcement, Donna Strickland, who was awarded the Nobel for herwork as a PhD student with GérardMourou, became the third woman to have ever won the Physics Nobel Prize, and the 96-year-old Arthur Ashkin who was awarded for his work on optical tweezers and their application to biological systems, became the oldest Nobel Prize winner. According to, the practical applications leading to the Prize in 2018 are tools made of light that have revolutionised laser physics–a discipline which in turn is represented by generations of advancements and not just a single example of brilliant work.

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Suggested Reading

  1. [1]

    Arthur Ashkin, Acceleration and Trapping of Particles by Radiation Pressure, Phys. Rev. Lett., 24, 156, 1970.

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  2. [2]

    Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou, Compression of Amplified Chirped Optical Pulses, Opt. Commun., 56, pp.219–221, 1985.

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  3. [3]

    Curt W Hillegas, Jerry X Tull, Debabrata Goswami, Donna Strickland, and Warren S Warren, Femtosecond Laser Pulse Shaping by Use of Microsecond Radio-frequency Pulses, Opt. Lett., 19, pp.737–739, 1994.

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Correspondence to Debabrata Goswami.

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Debabrata Goswami is a Senior Professor at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and holds the endowed Prof. S Sampath Chair Professorship of Chemistry. His research work spans across frontiers of interdisciplinary research with femtosecond lasers that have been recognised globally, the latest being the 2018 Galileo Galilei Award of the International Commission of Optics. As a part of his doctoral thesis at Princeton, Prof. Goswami developed the first acousto-optic modulated ultrafast pulse shaper, wherein the 2018 Physics Nobel Laureate, Prof. Strickland, also participated as a postdoctoral fellow in the same laboratory.

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Goswami, D. Nobel Prize in Physics – 2018. Reson 23, 1333–1341 (2018).

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  • Nobel
  • lasers
  • optical tweezer
  • pulses
  • chirped pulse amplification