In the Nobel Prize universe, it is assumed that there will be more women among the award-winning researchers in the future. He absolutely expects this, said physicist Joseph Nordgren to the German Press Agency after the award announcement at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) in Stockholm. Anne L’Huillier is only the fifth woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Every Nobel Prize award is based on the nominations received, explained Nordgren, who is a member of the KVA and a professor of soft X-ray physics and who previously sat on the Academy’s Nobel Physics Committee for nine years. “I’m sure we’re seeing a steady increase in nominations from women,” he said. This time around 500 nominations were received for the prize in physics – further details are traditionally kept secret by the Nobel institutions.

The first woman among the more than 220 Nobel Prize winners in physics to date was Marie Curie in 1903. She also received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 and was an isolated case, Nordgren said. It was only 60 years later that the German-American Maria Goeppert-Mayer was honored in 1963, before another 55 years passed before the name of a woman was again among the Nobel Prize winners in physics:

In 2018, the Canadian Donna Strickland was among them, then in 2020 the American Andrea Ghez – and now L’Huillier. The nuclear physicist, who according to the KVA has both French and Swedish citizenship, will receive this year’s prize together with Pierre Agostini and Ferenc Krausz, who researches in Germany.