Arthur Ashkin, CC'47, Wins Nobel Prize in Physics

Arthur Ashkin (CC 1947) has won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking research in laser physics.

Dr. Ashkin developed “optical tweezers,” which use the pressure from a highly focused laser beam to manipulate microscopic objects, including living organisms such as viruses and bacteria.  The breakthrough has led to a technique that separates healthy blood cells from infected ones, among other applications.

He joins a distinguished line of 30 Nobel laureates in physics who received their graduate or undergraduate degrees at Columbia or who held faculty, lecturer or research staff appointments.

Dr. Ashkin was born in 1922 in Brooklyn, NY.  He earned an undergraduate degree in physics from Columbia in 1947. In 1952 he received a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Cornell and joined Bell Labs where he worked until 1991.

More details on Dr. Ashkin's research and the prize can be found at Columbia News here.