Arthur AshkinUSA

Arthur Ashkin Biography, Wiki, Age, Parents, Education, Books, Awards, Nobel Prize laureate

On 2nd October 2018, three scientis awarded Nobel Prize in Physics with one half to Arthur Ashkin and the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland

Arthur Ashkin Biography

Arthur Ashkin Bio

Arthur Ashkin was born on 2nd September 1922. He is an American Scientist and Nobel laureate who worked at Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. He began his work on manipulation of microparticles with laser light in the late 1960s which brought about the invention of optical tweezers in 1986. He likewise spearheaded the optical trapping procedure that in the long run was used to manipulate atoms, molecules, and biological cells. The key phenomenon is the radiation pressure of light; this pressure can be dissected down into the optical gradient and scattering forces. Ashkin has been considered by many as the father of the topical field of optical tweezers, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018.
Arthur Ashkin Age He was born on 2nd September 1922 (age 96) in Brooklyn, New York, United States
Arthur Ashkin Education Columbia University, Cornell University
Arthur Ashkin Parents  Isadore (father) and Anna Ashkin (mother)
Arthur Ashkin Awards Nobel Prize in Physics (2018),  Frederic Ives Medal, Harvey Prize in Science and Technology
Arthur Ashkin Books Optical Trapping and Manipulation of Neutral Particles Using Lasers
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies

Arthur Ashkin Early Life and Education

Arthur Ashkin was born in Brooklyn, New York (1922) and spent his early childhood there.

His parents were Isadore (father) and Anna Ashkin (mother). He had two siblings, a brother, Julius, also a physicist, and a sister, Ruth. One older sibling, Gertrude, died while young. The family resided in Brooklyn, New York, at 983 E 27 Street. Isadore had immigrated to the United States from Odessa, Russia at the age of 19. Anna, five years younger, also came from Ukraine (in her case Galicia). Within a decade of his stay in New York, Isadore had become a U.S. citizen and was running a dental laboratory at 139 Delancey Street in Manhattan.

Ashkin attended Columbia University and worked as a technician for Columbia’s Radiation Lab tasked with building magnetrons for U.S. military radar systems. Although he was drafted in his sophomore year during World War II, his status was changed to enlisted reserves, and he continued working in the Columbia University lab. During this period, by Ashkin’s own account, three Nobel laureates were in attendance.

He finished his coursework for his physics degree at Columbia and then attended Cornell University to study nuclear physics. This was during the era of the Manhattan Project and Ashkin’s brother, Julius Ashkin, was successfully part of it. This led to Arthur Ashkin’s introduction to Hans Bethe, Richard Feynman and others who were at Cornell at the time.

He received his Ph.D. at Cornell and then went to work for Bell Labs at the request and recommendation of Sidney Millman. Previously, Mr. Millman was Ashkin’s supervisor at Columbia University. At Bell Labs from 1960 to 1961 Ashkin started working in the microwave field, and then switched to laser research. His research and published articles at that time pertained to nonlinear optics, optical fibers, parametric oscillators, and parametric amplifiers. Also, at Bell Labs during the 1960s, he was the co-discoverer of the photorefractive effect in the piezoelectric crystal

Arthur Ashkin Career

Ashkin’s work formed the basis for Steven Chu’s work on cooling and trapping atoms, which earned Chu the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics.

Ashkin earned various professional society memberships;

  1. Attained the rating of fellow in the Optical Society of America (OSA)
  2. the American Physical Society (APS)
  3. the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Ashkin retired from Bell Labs in 1992 after a 40-year career during which he contributed to many areas of experimental physics. He authored many research papers over the years and holds 47 patents. He was the recipient of the Joseph F. Keithley Award For Advances in Measurement Science in 2003 and the Harvey Prize in 2004. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1984 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1996. Currently, he continues work in his home lab.

Ashkin is also known for his studies in photorefraction, second harmonic generation, and non-linear optics in fibers besides optical tweezers.

Recent advances in physics and biology using optical micromanipulation include achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in atomic vapors at submillikelvin temperatures, demonstration of atom lasers, and detailed measurements on individual motor molecules.

Arthur Ashkin Nobel Prize laureate

On 2nd October 2018, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that they have decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” with one half of the $1.28-million Cdn prize going to Arthur Ashkin of the United States, and the other half  shared by Strickland and Gérard Mourou of France. Arthur Ashkin becomes the oldest person to be honored with the prize at 96.



Moses Njoroge is the Senior Editor at Glob Intel, a news and IT service provider company. He has a wide range of experience in freelance writing, Web/System Development and other related IT services.

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