Rochester breakthrough in laser science earns Nobel Prize in Physics

October 2, 2018

A University of Rochester graduate and a former faculty member shared the Nobel Prize in Physics today for work they undertook at the University’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE).

Donna Strickland, who received her doctorate in optics from Rochester in 1989 and is now a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and Gérard Mourou, a former engineering professor and scientist at LLE and currently a professor at the École Polytechnique in France, were recognized for their work to develop lasers as a high-powered tool that ultimately opened the door to new medical, scientific, and commercial applications. Known as “chirped-pulse amplification,” or CPA, the work was the basis of Strickland’s PhD dissertation at Rochester.

Strickland is only the third woman to receive the prize in physics, joining Marie Curie (1903) and Maria Goeppert-Mayer (1963). She is the first woman laureate in Rochester’s history.



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