Nobel Physics Prize awarded to trio of scientists from US, France, Canada

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It's immediately followed by this: "The red-haired college professor, mother of two, is the first woman residing in America to win a Nobel physics prize, the second woman in history".

After the CPA development with Strickland in Rochester, Mourou became founding director of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS) in MI - an institution that has proved highly influential in the field, and now houses the 300 terawatt-pulsed HERCULES laser, based on the CPA technique.

Ashkin said he was pleasantly surprised when he got the 5 a.m. call from Sweden. His story was based on reports from VOANews.com, the Associated Press, Reuters and the Nobel Prize website. She said she has never worked harder or had more fun than she did on their project.

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.

Cern scientist suspended after commentsReacting to her win, Dr Strickland, who is based at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said, "First of all you have to think it's insane, so that was my first thought".

On the other hand, Nobel Laureates Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses".

Then, in 1987, he used the tweezers to capture living bacteria without harming them. What started as a "light trap" eventually became known as "optical tweezers".

"You see the thing work and your heart stops".

Born Sept. 2, 1922, in New York, Ashkin received his bachelor's degree from Columbia University in 1947. The tool is now used to study the inner workings of cells and DNA.

The research by Mr Ashkin has let scientists study how proteins operate in the body and how they interact, he added.

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The other half will be split by Donna Strickland, of the University of Waterloo, and her former co-worker Gerard Mourou, now at the Ecole Polytechnique in France, for their development of chirped pulse amplification (CPA), a technique of harnessing high-intensity lasers. The academy said their 1985 article on the technique was "revolutionary".

Strickland is the first female Nobel laureate to be named in three years and is only the third woman winning in physics: Marie Curie earned the award in 1903 and Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963.

"There are so many fantastic women scientists and engineers and we need to spend more time celebrating them", said Wade.

"I knew he was right", she said.

Michael Moloney, CEO of the American Institute of Physics, praised all the laureates.

Last year, the nine people who won Nobel Prizes in all three of the scientific categories were men from Western countries.

He credited the work of all three with "expanding what is possible at the extremes of time, space and forms of matter".

Meanwhile, the Nobel Committee will announce the Nobel Chemistry Prize on Wednesday, 3 October; Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, 5 October, and Nobel Economic Sciences on 8 October, Monday.

A 1997 paper on stretching DNA with optical tweezers - authored by Michelle Wang, professor of physics - was cited in the Nobel Prize announcement.

Heintz reported from Moscow.

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