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Madrid / The Canadian Donna Strickland became the third woman who receives the Nobel Prize for Physics, 55 years after the American of German origin Maria Goeppert Mayer was awarded, a path initiated in 1903 by the French-Polish Marie Curie.

“We have to celebrate physical women because they are out there,” said Strickland, who said she was “honored to be one of those women,” in a brief telephone connection with Stockholm after the prize was announced.

Strickland, who takes the award for her first research published in a scientific journal, shares half of the award with the French Gérard Mourou “for his method to generate ultra-short and high intensity optical impulses”, while the other half of the award is for the American Arthur Ashkin.

The Nobel prizes in the scientific categories have been awarded so far, in an overwhelming majority to men, while women are somewhat better represented, although always below them, in categories such as Literature or Peace.

Between 1901 and 2017 only 49 women are counted among the laureates in all categories and, in the case of Physics, of the 210 awarded to date only three have been scientific.


The pioneer was Marie Curie, who received the award in 1903, shared with her husband Pierre Curie “in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered their joint research on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel“, which was the third winner.

Curie would win an award, in this case in the category of Chemistry and solo in 1911, “in recognition of his services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of radio and polonium elements, as well as by the isolation of radio and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element. “

It took 60 years for the Physics prize to fall back on a woman. It was in 1963 when Maria Goeppert Mayer succeeded in bringing together Eugene Paul Wigner and Jan Jensen for “their discoveries about the structure of the nuclear layers”.

Among the women honored with the Nobel Prize throughout their history are names such as those of Rigoberta Menchú and Malala Yousafzai for Peace, Alice Munro or Gabriela Mistral for Literature, or Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Rita Levi-Montalcini for Medicine.

The last time a woman took the stage of the Konsethus in Stockholm, where all the Nobel prizes are awarded, except for Peace, which takes place in Oslo, was in 2015 when the Chinese Youyou Tu picked up the Medicine award.

The secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, Göran K. Hansson said at the press conference in which they announced the Physics prize that didn’t have the percentage of women nominated in the scientific categories, although “it’s small. That is sure”.

However, he recalled that the academy recently announced measures to “encourage” to have more nominations of women, “because we don’t want to lose anyone.”

Some measures, which “are part of a long process”, so “have no effect” for this year’s award, he said.

The physicist Olga Botner, from the Swedish University in Uppsala, one of the experts present at the Nobel announcement, explained that the percentage of nominees “reflects” the number of women who worked in science 30 or 40 years ago, which are the people who are being rewarded now. (October 5, 2018, EFE/Practica Español)

News related in video (May 2010):

(Español) Comprehension

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Question 1
La noticia trata de...    
la gala de entrega de los Premios Nobel de este año.
las mujeres que han sido galardonadas con un Premio Nobel de Física.
todas las mujeres que han estado nominadas este año a un Premio Nobel.
Question 2
En la noticia se dice que...    
Donna Strickland es la primera mujer que gana un Premio Nobel en el siglo XXI.
este año una mujer ha ganado un Premio Nobel de una categoría científica.
es posible que este año otra mujer vuelva a ganar un Premio Nobel de una categoría científica.
Question 3
Donna Strickland ha sido galardonada por...    
unos estudios relacionados con la óptica.
haber realizado unos estudios sobre la estructura de las capas nucleares.
haber descubierto un nuevo elemento químico.
Question 4
Strickland comparte ese galardón con otras dos personas.    
Así es.
No se sabe.
Para nada.
Question 5
Sobre los premios nobel en categorías científicas se dice que...  
hay casi el mismo número de mujeres que de hombres galardonados en esas categorías.
las mujeres han sido más galardonadas en esas categorías que los hombres.
los hombres han sido más galardonados en esas categorías que las mujeres.
Question 6
Según el texto, ¿por qué se dice que Marie Curie fue 'pionera'?    
Porque fue la primera persona que recibió un Premio Nobel.
Porque fue la primera mujer que fue galardonada con un Premio Nobel.
Porque fue quien creó el Premio Nobel.
Question 7
Según el texto...  
hasta ahora las mujeres solo habían ganado un Premio Nobel en categorías no científicas.
todas las mujeres ganadoras de un Premio Nobel son científicas.
no hay muchas mujeres que hayan recibido un Premio Nobel en las categorías de ciencias.
Question 8
En el vídeo se dice que...    
los restos mortales de Marie Curie se encuentra en el Panteón de Ilustres de París.
los restos mortales van a ser trasladados al Panteón de Ilustres de París.
aún hoy se desconoce el lugar donde descansan los restos mortales de Marie Curie.
Question 9
Según el vídeo,  Marie Curie...    
hizo importantes estudios en el campo de la radioactividad.
no llegó a investigar nada sobre el campo de la radioactividad.
realizó investigaciones que no han influido en la Medicina moderna.
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