Donna T. Strickland
Associate Professor, Waterloo University (Canada)

June 2018

Alumni Focus

Donna Strickland received her B. Eng. Degree in Physics, from McMaster University in 1981. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 1989 with a Ph.D. in Optics and was a Laboratory for Laser Energetics Graduate Fellow from 1982 till 1988. Along with her Ph.D. supervisor, Dr. Gerard Mourou (of LLE and the Institute of Optics), Donna Strickland co-invented Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) at LLE, which made it possible to amplify ultra-short pulses to unprecedented levels. In recognition of the CPA invention, Strickland and Mourou were awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. In 2018, Strickland was also selected to the British Broadcasting Corporation list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world.

From 1988 to 1991, Dr. Strickland was a Research Associate at the National Research Council of Canada. The following year, she was a physicist with the Laser Division of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 1992, she became a member of the technical staff of Princeton's Advanced Technology Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials. Dr. Strickland joined the Physics Department of the University of Waterloo as an Assistant Professor in 1997. At Waterloo, Dr. Strickland's Ultrafast Laser Group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002 and since 2007 has been the Associate Chair of the Department. Dr. Strickland was selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in 1998. She received a Premier's Research Excellence Award in 1999, a Cottrell Scholar Award from Research Corporation in 2000 and was named a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA) in 2008.

Dr. Strickland has worked on several committees within the OSA. She has been on the editorial board of Optics and Photonics News and served as a topical editor for Optics Letters from 2004–2010. She has chaired the Archie McMahon and R. W. Wood Prize committees, served as Frontiers in Optics (FiO) General Chair in 2012, as FiO Program co-chair in 2010, and was on the program committee for the International Conference on Ultrafast Phenomena in 2002. Dr. Strickland was a member of the Member and Education Services Council (MES) from 2004–2006. She previously served on the OSA Board of Directors as a Director at Large from 2005–2007, and sat on the Board's Executive Committee during 2006–2007. From 2008–2011, she was the OSA-appointed representative to the International Commission for Optics (ICO) Board. Dr. Strickland was the 2013 OSA President.