“I tell my wife that’s the only thing I’m really good at”. “But I’m trying to enjoy it”.
She studied optics at the University of Rochester, in NY state, working towards her PhD under Mr Mourou.
“It’s kind of mind boggling, isn’t it?”
In 118 years of Nobel Prizes, Strickland is now only the 49th woman to be awarded one.
‘The number of nominations reflects the number of women in science two or three decades ago, ‘ added Olga Botner, chair of the physics Nobel committee.
The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded 111 times to 207 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2017.
Strickland later spoke of how her predecessor, Goeppert Mayer, had been “allowed to follow her husband from job to job while he. went up the ranks as a professor”, while she was only allowed to teach or do unpaid research.
Ideal timing: Strickland’s win comes just days after CERN physicist Alessandro Strumia made controversial and widely-reported comments at a conference claiming that men are better at physics. The first was Marie Curie of France in 1903. “It’s a silly comment”. Yes okay, that’s the way it was. These days, though, scientific research is “a hobby more or less”, he told the official website of the Nobel Prize. How ridiculous is that?
“We’re going out of our way to try and increase the diversity at the laboratory… so I couldn’t be happier about that, I think that’s an exclamation point on top of this”. “It will keep improving, hopefully”.
Strickland spoke briefly about the lack of women physics winners in a telephone call with the academy.
“There was an even larger bias against women then”.
Ashkin said Tuesday that he had thought his research was worthy of one of the world’s most prestigious prizes but figured his time had passed. “Women are just as smart as men”, she said.
The academy said Ashkin, Mourou and Strickland were awarded the prize for “groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics”, which have contributed to the development of advanced medical and industrial precision instruments. “We’ll find some way to celebrate together”, she says.
According to the press release, their work was published in the 1985, and was the foundation of Strickland’s doctoral thesis. She said she has never worked harder or had more fun than she did on their project.
First of all, you have to think it is insane! “And in the end I got to do that”. It also found a use in laser therapy targeting cancer and in the millions of corrective laser eye surgeries which are performed each year.
Despite a pervasive lack of official recognition for women scientists, Strickland said she has not personally experienced fundamental inequality and believes the field is ready to give women a more prominent place.
The American scientist will receive half of the prize money for what the academy called “optical tweezers”.