Nokia Bell Labs today held a ceremony in honor of Arthur Ashkin, who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for work undertaken while at Bell Labs. Ashkin was awarded the prize for the invention of optical tweezers and their application to biological systems, which enables scientists to further unravel the mysteries of human life.
The highlight of the ceremony was Ashkin delivering his Nobel Lecture for the first time. He was unable to travel to Stockholm to receive his award so his son, Daniel, received it on his behalf. His Laureate lecture was presented by Bell Labs researcher and close friend, Rene-Jean Essiambre as part of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony festivities, to great acclaim. But today in Murray Hill, NJ, Arthur was able to deliver the lecture himself to a captive audience of Nobel Laureates, and former colleagues and collaborators, who came to honor his outstanding accomplishment.
The ceremony held at Nokia Bell Labs headquarters in Murray Hill, N.J., also included the unveiling of a ‘Nobel Circle’ and plaque dedicated to Ashkin inside the Bell Labs Laureate Garden. The garden now includes nine such Nobel Circles, one for each of the Nobel Prizes that have been awarded to Bell Labs researchers, for pioneering work performed at this remarkable innovation and idea factory.
Marcus Weldon, President of Nokia Bell Labs and CTO of Nokia, said, “The long-standing mission of Bell Labs is to understand future human needs and to create solutions that transform how we live and work, by addressing the ‘seemingly impossible’ and making it not only possible, but probable and applicable to all. This has led to numerous innovative inventions and technologies that have redefined human existence. Arthur was on a quest to improve human communications by understanding the limits of optical communications and, as part of his research into novel laser-induced phenomena, he invented the optical tweezers that would subsequently be used to dramatically improve the ability of scientists to conduct microscopic medical research. The entire Bell Labs family is incredibly proud of Arthur and we are delighted to recognize him and his work for posterity, with a permanent circle in his honor in our Bell Labs Laureate Garden.”