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American, French, Canadian Scientists Get Nobel Physics Prize

Members of the Nobel Committee for Physics sit in front of a screen displaying portraits of Arthur Ashkin, Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland of Canada during the announcement of the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, on Oct. 2, 2018.

The 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to Arthur Ashkin of the United States, France's Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland of Canada for their "groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics."

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences gave half of the $1 million prize to Ashkin, while the other researchers will share the other half.

The academy said their work in advanced precision instruments — described as "tools made of light" — has opened up "unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications."

Ashkin was noted for his invention of so-called optical tweezers that use "the radiation pressure of light to move physical objects," while Mourou and Strickland were honored for developing a new method for generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses that have led to such everyday practices as corrective eye surgery.

The remaining two Nobel Prizes of 2018, for chemistry and peace, will be announced on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. The literature prize will not be given this year because of a sexual misconduct scandal at the Swedish Academy, the body that decides the award. The Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Sciences will be announced on Monday, October 8.

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