Just because Arthur Ashkin just became the world’s oldest Nobel Prize winner doesn’t mean he is ready to retire – instead, he has something bigger in mind.
The 96-year-old inventor was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics in recognition for his work with optical levitation: a process of controlling the movement of microscopic particles using the force of photons. His efforts have had a profound effect in furthering our understanding of how light behaves, and how it can be harnessed for practical applications.
Despite this career-defining accomplishment, Ashkin allowed himself only a few moments to discuss his past work by fondly recalling the day he first levitated microscopic organisms using a laser.
“It surprised me. It would surprise anybody,” Ashkin told Business Insider. “I invented optical levitation.”
But Ashkin’s sentiment was quickly interrupted by the excitement he now holds for his new invention.
“I’m not about celebrating that old stuff, I got something new and important,” Ashkin told the Nobel spokesman in a phone interview. “I’m working on solar energy and I think I’ve gotten some important stuff and the world badly needs science in climate change.”
By using a tube that can concentrate light, Ashkin plans to improve how existing solar panels currently harness energy. His invention could greatly increase their output, while substantially reducing the cost of production with each tube costing mere pennies to make.
“I’m making cheap electricity,” he told Business Insider, adding that he believes his invention will earn him another Nobel Prize nomination. “And I’m gonna win too.”
In the meantime, Ashkin has already filed a patent for the tube, which will only add to his impressive 47-patent collection. After that, he expects his findings to be published in the journal Science.
As for the small matter of the $500,000 he received from the Nobel Prize Organization, Ashkin plans to take his beloved wife Aline out for a “good meal,” while the rest will help to pay for the future college expenses of his 5 grandchildren.
For the time being, Ashkin hopes his newfound popularity will allow him a grander audience for his new technology – one that he claims “will save the world.”
(LISTEN to Ashkin’s amusing reaction to hearing he was a Nobel winner in the video below) – Photo by Arne Ohlin / Nobel Prize
Power Up With Positivity By Sharing The Good News With Your Friends On Social Media