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Research and innovation
News article2 October 2018Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

EU-funded scientist among Nobel Prize winners in Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2018 has been awarded jointly to Arthur Ashkin and to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland for helping to revolutionise laser physics.

Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland have paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses created by humankind. The technique they developed opened up new areas of research and led to broad industrial and medical applications. Its uses include the millions of corrective eye surgeries that are conducted every year using the sharpest of laser beams.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:  

I warmly congratulate Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland on their achievement. I am proud to say that EU funding has supported one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates to help perfect laser physics. Their discoveries will help us all to stay at the cutting edge of scientific frontiers.

Gérard Mourou was leading an EU-funded research infrastructure project, International Coherent Amplification Network (ICAN), which received €500 000 from the EU’s previous research and innovation programme (FP7). The project focused on developing a revolutionary laser system by investigating the use of fibre lasers in ground-breaking particle accelerator technologies. He was also the initiator and coordinator of the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), which is part of the European ESFRI Roadmap. ELI started as a bottom-up initiative by the European scientific laser community.

Gérard Mourou is currently working at the École Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA). Donna Strickland is a professor at the University of Waterloo, in Canada. Arthur Ashkin is an American physicist currently working at Bell Laboratories.  

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Publication date
2 October 2018
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation