Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland Highlights Award-Winning Research at OSA Leadership Conference

By OSA Communications

At The Optical Society’s (OSA) 2019 Leadership Conference, 2013 President, OSA Fellow and Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland discussed the fundamental science behind her co-invention of chirped pulse amplification (CPA) – the pivotal research that earned her recognition as one of three Nobel Prize in Physics winners last year. Strickland, a professor at the University of Waterloo, was featured as the “Light the Future” plenary speaker in a program held 1 April 2019 at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson and Donna Strickland 

Credit: Suzanne Ffolkes 

Together, Donna and Gérard Mourou, the co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, manipulated a laser that made nonlinear optics possible, leading to the development of CPA. This invention has applications ranging from laser eye surgery to precision cutting of products like the glass parts in cell phones.

Additionally, Donna shared some anecdotes into what it was like to get the Nobel Prize announcement from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, 2 October 2018 and recalled interesting experiences in the days surrounding the Nobel ceremony.

Immediately following the plenary, 2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson moderated a Q&A session and began with a question as to how Donna’s family heard about the Nobel announcement.

“The first people I texted were my brother, my sister, daughter and son,” said Donna but chuckled that  her daughter’s friend  thought that her mother’s phone had been hacked.. Shortly after media coverage of the announcement, her entire family was elated by the news.

In describing one of her favorite headlines from the Nobel ceremony, Donna shared a news clip that read “Ladies in red! Princess Sofia of Sweden inadvertently twins with a Nobel Prize winner at glitzy banquet in Stockholm.” The dress in question was Donna’s beautiful red ball gown worn on 10 December 2018, the day of the Nobel ceremony. Princess Sofia of Sweden is pictured alongside Donna wearing a very similar red ball gown. The text below the photo implied that the princess was competing with a “glamorous” Nobel winner.

Donna also spoke about her involvement with the International Photonics Advocacy Coalition (IPAC) – a global initiative comprised of experts from academia, industry, and government with a mission to educate and advise policymakers on the importance of funding optics and photonics initiatives. She has encouraged participants to continue advocating in support of basic research among policymakers and the public.



Posted: 4 April 2019 by OSA Communications | with 0 comments

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