Charles Townes, Nobel prize winner and inventor of the maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, 1953) and developer of the laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), died last week at the age of 99. Townes’ first maser in 1953 operated at the insanely high frequency of 24 GHz.
I admire Townes because he persisted in chasing his dream of using stimulated emission despite the discouragement of knowledgeable peers. The conventional wisdom of mid-twentieth century scientists was that yes, Einstein predicted stimulated emission, but we’d never be able to use it. We can thank Townes’ persistence and the solid state laser for giving us CDs, DVDs, and high speed data transmission over fiber optic cables.
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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695