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The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was awarded "for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics" with one half to Arthur Ashkin "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems", the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses."
Arthur Ashkin invented optical tweezers that grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells with their laser beam fingers. This new tool allowed Ashkin to realise an old dream of science fiction – using the radiation pressure of light to move physical objects.
Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created by mankind by inventing the method of chirped pulse amplification.
This year's prize winners will not be able to address us personally, but Prof. David McIntyre, a local optics expert (translation: knows not to look into laser beam with remaining eye), will explain the wonderful physics accomplishments behind these prizes.