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The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for Gerard Mourou, one of the idea fathers of Extreme Light Infrastructure project

Professor Gérard Mourou, one of the idea fathers of the Extreme Light Infrastructure project, won on Tuesday, along with two other scientists, the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics, „for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics”. Thanks to their inventions, which revolutionised laser physics, advanced precision instruments are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications. The other two scientists are the American Arthur Ashkin and the Canadian Donna Strickland, the first female physics prize winner in 55 years.

Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created by mankind, and their revolutionary article was published in 1985. They created ultrashort high-intensity laser pulses thanks to an ingenious technique which consisted in stretching the laser pulses in time to reduce the peak power, then in amplifying them and finally compressing them.

Gérard Mourou visiting Prague in March 2015

Gerard Mourou has remarkable merits in initiating the realization of ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) whose three pillars have been under establishment in Romania, Czech Republic and Hungary. Under his leadership and with the guidance of an international Steering Committee the White Book which is a comprehensive description of ELI’s technical design concept and scientific case was published as of the end of 2010.