Charles Townes Was A Professor At University Of California

The week brought with it sad news that the man who had invented laser and had also won a Nobel Prize of the discovery died at a ripe old age of 99. He was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. It was to Townes’s credit that he had thought up the idea for the maser, the predecessor to the laser, helping to alter the course of technology, society, and science fiction. At the time of his death he was in Oakland. The idea for the laser came to him while he was on a park bench in Washington DC in 1951.

Charles Townes’s “Maser” Idea Was Discarded By Niels Bohr

At that time, Townes was in Washington DC to attend a meet with a Navy committee, set up to find ways to enhance communications technology using microwaves. Even though he had hit upon the idea, he declined to share it then and rather went to Columbia and started building his “maser,” – which is an acronym for “microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” However, his had rejected the machine and eminent physicist Niels Bohr had said that it violated Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. However, the machine was a success.

 Charles Townes Had Received Joint Nobel With Nicolay Gennadiyevich Basov And Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov

It was again 6 more years later in 1957 that Townes began to look into the creation of a new version of the maser, which used infrared light rather than microwaves. The term coined then was “optical maser” and the tern “laser,” standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” came later. The first working laser was built by Theodore H. Maiman in 1960 and Townes shared the 1964 Nobel prize in Physics with Nicolay Gennadiyevich Basov and Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov.