Two Former LLE Researchers win Nobel Prize in Physics


Profs. Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou were awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” for their invention of chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) while at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics in the 1980s. Prof. Strickland developed CPA as a graduate student with Prof. Mourou as her advisor in The Institute of Optics. Strickland is only the third woman to receive the prize in physics, joining Marie Curie (1903) and Maria Goeppert-Mayer (1963). “We need to celebrate women physicists because we’re out there,” Strickland said. “I am honored to be one of those women.” Professor of Optics and former Institute of Optics Director, Wayne Knox said of Gérard Mourou, he is “one of the most visionary and creative people I’ve met in my whole life. He was always thinking about the next power of 10. If his laser was making 1018 watts per square centimeter, he wanted to build one that was a thousand times bigger.” Together, their invention revolutionized laser science, enabling amplification of ultrashort laser pulses by more than five orders of magnitude (a factor of 100,000 times).