Donna Strickland, Physicist & Professor, University of Waterloo
When Donna Strickland was handed the Nobel Prize in Physics in December 2018, she became the first Canadian woman to receive the award — and only the third woman, ever, in the category of physics. Widely considered the most prestigious award in science, Donna earned the Nobel for her work in laser physics, which she completed during her PhD in the early 1980’s (though it’s having a big impact today, having laid the groundwork for corrective eye surgery). Her win was not only a reason to celebrate for Canada and for women, but also a reason to reflect — throughout the Nobel’s 118-year history, there has been a lack of representation for women researchers. In the year that followed her award, Donna embarked on a new chapter as a role model, taking speaking engagements in more than 11 countries, and advocating in the media to encourage a broader engagement with science in Canada.