Laser history goes on and on
This issue of Photonics Spectra may be the final installment of our three-month special feature article celebration
of the laser’s 50th anniversary, but the party isn’t over.
This month’s laser features include an article by Spectra-Physics
about the development of the Ti:sapphire laser and its applications; a walk through
the history of the Laser Institute of America (LIA); editor Hank Hogan’s examination
of fiber lasers for industrial uses; and Trumpf’s predictions for what the
next 50 years will bring. And “Creating Art with Light,” a Web exclusive
on Photonics.com, explores the ways in which lasers have contributed to the arts,
from laser animation to audience scanning, from holographic sculptures to works
of art that use laser beams to create patterns.
You can relive high points from the laser’s history anytime
you like at www.lasertimeline.com, an interactive timeline that allows you to scroll
through the years and click on milestones for more details.
And we have launched a new reference, too: www.laserlookup.com,
where you can easily find a wide array of laser types, applications and manufacturers.
We are excited about this and hope you are, too. We would love your feedback on
these two new initiatives. Please contact our senior Web editor, Melinda Rose, at
But we at Photonics Media aren’t the only ones still celebrating.
LIA announced last month that it will present its first Lifetime
Achievement Award to laser pioneer Dr. Charles Townes, 94, who won the 1964 Nobel
Prize in physics “for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics,
which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser
principle.” The award will be presented during the 29th International Congress
on Applications of Lasers and Electro-Optics at the end of September in Anaheim,
An exhibit called LaserLab, developed by Trumpf Inc. and mechanical
engineering students from the Stuttgart University of Cooperative Education in Germany,
offers visitors to the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford a chance to get hands-on
with lasers. In the process, of course, they can learn all about what lasers do,
how they do it and how they touch our lives every day.
And LaserFest is still in full swing, with events and exhibits
around the country at trade shows, conferences and science festivals through the
end of the year. Late this month, Spectra the Original Laser Superhero will make
her Comic-Con debut in San Diego. The comic book series was developed by the American
Physical Society to teach kids about lasers.
But we don’t only celebrate the laser’s history with
special events – we celebrate it by using the technology every day, and by
working continually to explore and expand its potential.
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