NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A son of Brooklyn received a history-making honor.

96-year-old Arthur Ashkin has become the oldest Nobel Prize winner ever.

Ashkin was honored with two other scientists in the physics category.

He was credited for his development of optical tweezers, a device that can grab tiny particles without damaging them.

Before a decades-long career at Bell Labs, Ashkin went to Columbia University and earned a PhD from Cornell.

Ashkin said he was pleasantly surprised when he got the 5 a.m. call from Sweden.

“I’m very old and had given up worrying about things like Nobel Prizes,” he told The Associated Press.

He said he’s working on solar energy research at his New Jersey home. These days, though, scientific research is “a hobby more or less,” he told the official website of the Nobel Prize.

“I tell my wife that’s the only thing I’m really good at.”

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)