June 11, 2024

Ever wonder about the technology behind laser eye surgery? Now's your chance to scratch that itch

Learn about the fascinating world of lasers June 17 with Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland
A woman wearing a button down and blazer and glasses smiles at the camera
Donna Strickland

Ever wonder about the technology behind laser eye surgery? Or how the glass on your cell phone is made? Join Nobel Laureate Dr. Donna Strickland, PhD, for a fascinating look at the growing power of lasers and what they’ve taught us about the mysteries of matter and light. 

Strickland, professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, will give her talk — Generating High-Intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses — in Calgary June 17 at 7 p.m.

Strickland was one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018 for inventing chirped pulse amplification, a method that generates ultrashort high-intensity pulses, with her PhD supervisor, Dr. Gérard Mourou.

“It once again made new types of interactions possible between light and matter,” she wrote in an abstract for her talk. “We developed a laser that could develop short pulses of light that knocked the electrons off their atoms.

“This new understanding of laser-matter interactions led to the development of new machining techniques that are used in laser eye surgery or micromachining of glass used in cell phones.”

Strickland and Mourou published their Nobel-winning research in 1985 when she was a student at the University of Rochester. It was the foundation of her doctoral thesis.

Strickland’s captivating talk is open to the public, and will be held at the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall at the Central Library, 800 3 Street S.E.

The event is being hosted by the University of Calgary’s Institute for Quantum Science and Technology in partnership with the Calgary Public Library.

Register for the event.

About the speaker

Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. They published this Nobel-winning research in 1985 when Strickland was a PhD student at the University of Rochester in New York state. Together they paved the way toward the most intense laser pulses ever created.

Strickland was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997, she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations.

Strickland was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. She is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award. Strickland served as the president of the Optical Society (OSA) in 2013. She is a fellow of OSA and SPIE, the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society. She is an honorary fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering as well as the Institute of Physics. She is an international member of the US National Academy of Science.

Strickland earned a PhD in optics from the University of Rochester and a B.Eng. from McMaster University.

The UCalgary Visiting Scholars Program sponsors distinguished scholars based in Canada and international candidates who will make a significant contribution to the academic life of the University of Calgary — enriching our research community, raising our institutional profile, and promoting knowledge exchange across countries and continents. Learn more about the program.

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