The Acropolis Museum on Tuesday hosted Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Gerard Mourou who was invited by Greece’s Alternate Research and Innovation Minister, Costas Fotakis.

Fotakis, who is an old friend and colleague, praised Mourou’s contribution to science which includes innovations that affect the cleaning of sculptures at the Museum.

“Gerard Mourou’s great contribution in the sector of lasers has several aspects that led him to collaborate with laboratories in Greece, among others,” Fotakis said.

“The passion he has for the arts and especially for archaeology has allowed us to collaborate with the Acropolis Museum, applying innovative techniques to clean the sculptures of the Parthenon with lasers,” he added.

Of the three scientists who shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, Mourou and Donna Strickland were recognised “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses” and Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems.”

At the Acropolis Museum, Mourou expressed his admiration for ancient Greek culture and for the high level of Greek research teams. “Despite the great number of invitations I receive globally, I am greatly honored to be in Athens following an invitation by my friend and colleague of many years Costas Fotakis, especially since Greece is the cradle of democracy and the principles of science and philosophy.”

Explaining Mourou and Strickland’s work, the official Nobel prize site said, “The sharp beams of laser light have given us new opportunities for deepening our knowledge about the world and shaping it. In 1985, Donna Strickland and Gerard Mourou succeeded in creating ultrashort high-intensity laser pulses without destroying the amplifying material. First they stretched the laser pulses in time to reduce their peak power, then amplified them, and finally compressed them. The intensity of the pulse then increases dramatically. ‘Chirped pulse amplification’ has many uses, including corrective eye surgeries.”


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