I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all of us here at Canadian Laser Safety to congratulate Dr. Donna Strickland for being the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel in Physics today for her “groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics”. Donna is one of only 3 women in history to be awarded this honor, next to Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963, and Marie Curie in 1903.

Donna graduated from McMaster University in 1981 where she received her Bachelor of Engineering Physics, moving on to the University of Rochester for her PhD under Dr Gerard Mourou with whom she shares this year’s prize for their revolutionary development in 1985 of Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA). CPA enables the production of high peak powers from lasers through stretching and amplification of ultra-short optical pulses. High power, short duration lasers have paved the way for many laser applications, however the Nobel committee has chosen to focus on the familiarity of laser eye surgery.

Dr Strickland is currently an associate professor at the University of Waterloo and has been a self-proclaimed “laser jock” rather than a “laser geek” in her passion to attract young people into the field of physics.

“Who wants to be a nerd or a geek or whatever they’re calling us now? That’s a problem,” Strickland told the Waterloo Region Record in 2010