The first ‘Light Night’ of this academic year opened with an accessible public talk open to a large public. The central theme of this edition was this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics, which was awarded “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics”. Sounds like photonics !
One half to Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems”, the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.”
Two professors of UGent with experience in these topics shed some light on the impact of the awarded work on our lives. First Prof. Filip Beunis from the Liquid Crystals and Photonics Group spoke about optical tweezers which use light to ‘grab’ tiny particles/cells and allow studying live bacteria and viruses without damaging or killing them.
Followed by Prof. Bart Kuyken (Photonics Research Group) who gave an insight into the chirped pulse amplification which have found many applications including cancer treatment, micromachining and laser surgery among others.
This edition was organized by Photonics Society Gent and attracted a nice crowd to learn more about photonics, or ‘laser physics’.