The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a woman for the first time in 55 years, and for only the third time in its history.
Donna Strickland, a Canadian physicist, was awarded the 2018 prize jointly with Gérard Mourou, from France, for their work on generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.
They shared the award with an American, Arthur Ashkin, who at 96 becomes the oldest Nobel Laureate.
Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, recognized for her co-discovery of radiation, followed by Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963 for discoveries about nuclear structure.
“We need to celebrate women physicists because we’re out there. I’m honored to be one of those women,” Strickland said in a news conference following the announcement in Stockholm.
Speaking about being the third woman to ever win the award, she said she thought there might have been more, adding:
“Hopefully in time it will start to move forward at a faster rate.”
The announcement comes one day after a senior scientist with Cern, the academic home to a number of Nobel prize winners, was suspended for saying that physics was invented and built by men.
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