Oct. 2 (UPI) -- For the first time in 55 years, a woman has won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the prize jointly to Donna Strickland and Gerard Mourou Tuesday morning in Stockholm. The Nobel Prize in Physics was also awarded to Arthur Ashkin for his work with optical tweezers.
Strickland's and Mourou's work with high intensity, ultra short laser pulses has a wide range of uses, including eye surgeries to help patients with near-nearsightedness. The research also has industrial applications that are being explored around the world.
Strickland is the first woman since 1963 to be awarded the prize.
Ashkin's optical tweezers use highly focused beams to grab viruses or other small particles. Strickland is Canadian, Mourou is French and Ashkin is American.
The Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded since 1901 and can include up to three different laureates.
Last year's winners were three Americans -- Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, and Kip S. Thorne -- honored for their contributions to the study of gravitational waves.
On Monday, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet gave this year's medicine award to cancer researchers James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo.