On Thursday, 08 December 2022, the Academy hosted Professor Gérard Mourou, Nobel Prize winner in Physics for 2018, at a special lecture on “Extreme Light: Its Benefits to Science and Society. Prof. Mourou reflected on the work he and his PhD student, Donna Strickland, co-winner of the Nobel Prize did to receive the award. He said Chirped-pulse amplification, or CPA, which is really, the best in the world right now, is a technique for creating ultrashort, yet extremely high-energy laser pulses necessary in a variety of applications, including more precise and less expensive medical and surgical operations; clean and safe energy to replace fossil fuel and uranium usage options; as well as the removal of millions of orbital debris cluttering space.
He thanked the Academy for the honor done him by providing the platform for the event and encouraged the student participants, especially the female students to passionately pursue their scientific interests without hindrance.
Introducing the speaker, Prof. Herbert Graves Winful, a product of St. Augustines College, Cape
Coast, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan and Fellow of the Academy, acknowledged the numerous contributions of the University of Michigan under its African Studies Centre in support of post-docs from Ghana and the partnership with the various medical schools for in-country training of more than 200 medics in Ghana. He described Professor Gérard Mourou as an astute scientist and a man of big ideas with the energy and drive to turn his ideas into reality. He said the idea to invite Prof. Mourou to Ghana started more than two years back in his interaction with his long-time associate of over three decades and was gratified that the French Embassy had enthusiastically supported the realization of the long-awaited idea in 2022.
The President of the Academy, Emeritus Prof. Samuel Sefah-Dedeh in his closing remarks said
Professor Gérard Mourou brought us to the point of better appreciation of the use of Laser in
medicine, power generation and environmental control in the atmosphere. He thanked the speaker, Prof. Winful, who facilitated the whole programme, Michigan University, which funded the event and the French Embassy for the smooth facilitation of Professor Gérard Mourou’s trip to Ghana. The lecture was simulcast on the Academy’s Facebook and YouTube channels.