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From Masers to Lasers in Space — and at the Cinema!

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Well beyond its first successful demonstration in 1960, the laser has found its way into applications that are the stuff of Hollywood movies — and into the movie theater, too.

JUSTINE MURPHY, SENIOR EDITOR, [email protected]

Sixty years ago, physicists Charles Hard Townes, James P. Gordon and H.J. Zeiger demonstrated the maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). It wasn’t long before Townes and fellow physicist Arthur Schawlow proved that masers could be made to operate in the visible and infrared regions. Around the same time, research by Gordon Gould, then a graduate student at Columbia University, found that a concentrated beam of light could push technology beyond the maser, and coined his concept the laser — for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation....Read full article

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