French Immigrant University of Michigan Professor, Gérard Morou Wins Nobel Prize in Physics!

On Tuesday 2nd October 2018, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences,Stockholm, Sweden named Gérard Mourou, a University Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where he has taught for over 16 years as a co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. Professor Mourou shares this prize with his Canadian-born student Donna Strickland and American scientist Arthur Ashkin. He is an immigrant from France.

Gérard Morou

“The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was awarded “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” with part being awarded jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.” announced the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday.



Professor Mourou, as an American immigrant, is in good company  as a Nobel Prize winner in science. In  fact, since 2000 more than one-third of U.S. Nobel prize winners in chemistry, medicine, and physics are immigrants, according to the National Foundation For American Policy 2016 report. The report shows that since 2000, 24 immigrants won Nobel Prizes in those fields, out of 68 U.S. prizewinners in chemistry, medicine and physics. The NFAP hopes the research shows the contributions of immigrants in important fields and why it is important for America to welcome talent from across the globe.

Changes that have broadened U.S. immigration law dating from 1965 revisions that lifted quotas on national origin, coupled with 1995 legislation that increased employment-based immigration, have helped build the surge of U.S. Nobel prize winners, the report said. Before 1960, just one immigrant to the United States won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, nine in medicine, and 15 in physics. Since 1960, 23 immigrants have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, 28 in medicine, and 21 in physics, the report said.

The NFAP study quotes Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016 and an American  immigrant from the United Kingdom, as summarizing that scientific research will remain strong in America “as long as we don’t enter an era where we turn our back on immigration.”

In 2011, Global Detroit worked with 7 Michigan universities, the University Research Corridor, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Ann Arbor SPARK, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and others to launch the Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative, the nation’s first international student retention program. We have buttressed this  program with the addition of our Cultural Ambassadors program to help immigrants and international students in our region build their professional networks. This year, Global Detroit has sought to expand our efforts to attract and retain the world’s most talented science and  business leaders through the creation of a Global Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) initiative to help talent international startup founders secure a U.S. visa to launch their companies in Southeast Michigan.


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