Nobel Prize in Physics: First woman winner in 55 years

Major leaguer

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a woman, Donna Strickland, for the first time in 55 years. Hailing from Canada, Strickland is only the third woman winner of the award, along with Marie Curie, who won in 1903, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was awarded the prize in 1963.

Dr Strickland shares this year's prize with Arthur Ashkin, from the US, and Gerard Mourou, from France, in recognition of their discoveries in the field of laser physics. Dr Ashkin developed a laser technique described as optical tweezers, which is used to study biological systems. Drs Mourou and Strickland paved the way for the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created. They developed a technique called Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA). It has found uses in laser therapy targeting cancer and in the millions of corrective laser eye surgeries which are performed each year.