Strickland, a laser physicist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, becomes the first woman to win the physics Nobel since Maria Goeppert Mayer was honored in 1963. The other two winners are Arthur Ashkin and Gérard Mourou.
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was awarded for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics with one half ($1.01 million) to Arthur Ashkin for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems, the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.
Sweden`s Royal Academy of Sciences, which chose the winners, said Ashkin, 96, developed "optical tweezers" that can grab tiny particles such as viruses without damaging them.
Strickland and Mourou helped develop short and intense laser pulses that have broad industrial and medical applications.
Strickland is the first female Nobel laureate to be named in three years and is only the third woman to have won the physics prize; the first was Marie Curie in 1903.
"Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists because we`re out there. And hopefully, in time it`ll start to move forward at a faster rate, maybe," Strickland said in a phone call with the academy after the prize announcement.
On Monday, American James Allison and Japan`s Tasuku Honjo won the Nobel medicine prize for groundbreaking work in fighting cancer with the body`s own immune system.
The Nobel chemistry prize comes Wednesday, followed by the peace prize on Friday. The economics prize, which is not technically a Nobel, will be announced Oct. 8.