Donna Strickland Is the Third Woman to Earn the Nobel Prize in Physics

Donna StricklandThe Nobel Prize in physics was first awarded in 1901. Marie Curie won the award just two years later. In 1963 Maria Goeppert Mayer won the Nobel Prize in physics for her research on the structure of the nucleus of atoms. German-born, Professor Mayer worked on developing the hydrogen bomb and taught at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, San Diego.

From 1964 to 2017, no woman was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. But this year, Donna Stickland, an associate professor of physics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, is sharing the prize with two men. She partnered with French physicist Gerard Mourou to develop chirped pulse amplification. The prize committee stated that the process “paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created.” The process has many practical applications and is used in laser eye surgery.

A native of Guelph, Ontario, Dr. Strickland earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds a Ph.D. in optical physics from the University of Rochester in New York.

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