# A woman has just won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the first time in 55 years

The Nobel Prize in Physics has just been awarded to three scientists for their “groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.” And, for the first time in more than half a century, a woman — Donna Strickland — is one of the winners.

Canadian Donna Strickland, Gerard Mourou from France and American Arthur Ashkin will share the £998,662.97 [\$998,662.97] prize.

The committee recognised the scientists for their use of light to create miniature tools. Arthur Ashkin invented the “optical tweezers,” highly focused beams of light that allow you to manipulate microscopic objects and living organisms. Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland developed a method of generating high intensity ultra-short optical pulses.

Strickland is the third female physics laureate to win the prize, and the first since Maria Goeppert-Mayer who won 55 years ago for her discoveries about the nuclei of atoms. The only other female winner is famed historical physicist Marie Curie.

“I thought there might have been more but I couldn’t think. Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists because we’re out there. Hopefully it will start to move forward at a faster rate. I’m honoured to be one of those women,” Strickland said at a press conference after being presented with the fact that she was only the third woman ever to win.

People on social media were very excited by the fact that a woman was among the winners this year.

Many (presumably under the age of 55) pointed out that this was the first time in their lifetime a woman had won the award.

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