2018 Nobel Laureate in Physics returns to the National Research Council of Canada

News release

Dr. Donna Strickland visits with mentors and gives lecture on her work

January 18, 2019  – Ottawa, Ontario – Today, surrounded by researchers and students, Mr. Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), welcomed Dr. Donna Strickland, the 2018 Nobel Laureate in Physics, back to the NRC. 

During her lecture, Dr. Strickland provided a history about the physics behind ionization processes and high-harmonic generation as her motivation for building the chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) laser. The results of her research using the CPA laser, which she designed and assembled, has led to several applications, most notably for corrective laser eye surgery.

Dr. Strickland began her career at the NRC as a summer student in metrology, and returned in 1988 as a Postdoctoral Fellow to work with NRC researcher and University of Ottawa Canada Research Chair in Attosecond Photonics, Dr. Paul Corkum. She is presently a professor at the University of Waterloo.

Background information:

  • Research excellence and innovation are cornerstones of the NRC, which is Canada's largest research organization.
  • The Government of Canada and the NRC support women taking on leading roles in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) and encourage young women to enter these fields to increase equity and inclusion in the future of STEM learning.


“Dr. Strickland’s recognition by the international science community marked a momentous day for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We congratulate her on this inspiring accomplishment.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“As the fifth Canadian and only the third woman to be honoured with the Nobel Prize in Physics, Dr. Strickland joins a prestigious group of Nobel Laureates who have spent most or part of their careers at the NRC, such as Bertram Brockhouse, John Polanyi, and Gerhard Herzberg. This is an enormous achievement in the international science community and we are extremely pleased to congratulate her in person today.”

– Mr. Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada 

Quick facts

  • The NRC is the Government of Canada’s largest research organization. It is a key part of the Innovation and Skills Plan and of Budget 2018’s commitment to supporting Canada’s researchers to build a more innovative economy.

  • Dr. Strickland was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, along with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time, for the invention of chirped-pulse amplification.

  • Dr. Strickland earned a PhD in optics from the University of Rochester and a bachelor of engineering from McMaster University. She is presently a professor at the University of Waterloo.

  • From 1988 to 1991, Dr. Strickland was a research associate at the NRC, where she worked with Paul Corkum in the Ultrafast Phenomena Section.


Media Relations
National Research Council Canada
Twitter: @nrc_cnrc

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