Donna Theo Strickland was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. She is currently a Professor of Physics at the University of Waterloo. She is the first woman to hold this position at the University.
She obtained her bachelor’s degree in engineering physics in 1981 from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. At McMaster, she specialized in lasers and electro-optics. She then received her PhD in physics in 1989 from Rochester University in Rochester, New York, where she worked at the Institute of Optics and the Institute for Laser Optics. She wrote her dissertation under the supervision of Gérard Mourou.
In 1985, Strickland and Mourou published the technique they had developed known as chirped pulse amplification (CPA), a method for amplifying ultrashort laser pulses to a very-high intensity (petawatt level).Afterwards, CPA was developed by others as the basis for the widespread use of small high-power laboratory laser systems, known as “table-top terawatt lasers.”
After graduating, Strickland was hired by the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa (where she worked with Paul Corkum), by the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Livermore, California, and by the Advanced Technology Center for Photonics and Opto-electronic Materials at Princeton University.
In 1997, Strickland joined the University of Waterloo as a full professor. Strickland is the author or co-author of more than 110 peer-reviewed journal articles. In 2018, she and Mourou received the Nobel Prize in Physics.
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