Celebration of 2018 Physics Nobel Prize: Lighting the way with microscopic tractor beams and sculpted laser pulse
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The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics recognizes two breakthrough inventions in laser physics. The first, optical tweezers, allows scientist and engineers to use lasers like the tractor beams of Star Trek to manipulate everything from molecules to living cells. Optical tweezers have provided researchers with fingers in the microscopic world that can pull apart DNA, probe the mechanics of life, detect disease and study fundamental interactions in biology, physics, chemistry and engineering. The second breakthrough, chirped pulse amplification, enabled the construction of lasers of incredible power and precision. With the super-high power lasers came cutting-edge applications as diverse as attosecond time-resolved dynamics of atoms and molecules and laser eye surgery. In this public talk, Georgia Tech Professor Rick Trebino will give an overview of optical physics. Professors Jennifer Curtis and Chandra Raman will present a brief history of these discoveries and discuss their impacts on science and society, with an audience Q&A session afterwards.