Nikolai Basov, Russian physicist

Nikolai Basov, Russian physicist

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Nikolai Basov (1922-2001), Russian physicist. Nikolai Gennadiyevich Basov is primarily known for his work with Aleksandr Prokhorov on developing masers, the microwaves produced by systems of energised (excited) atoms. Maser stands for Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Basov also applied this technique to amplify light (the laser). He went on to develop various methods of exciting atoms to give laser beams, including the three-level pumping method, and later used lasers to produce thermonuclear reactions. His work on masers and lasers earned him the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Prokhorov and Townes.

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