Gordon Gould, US physicist

Gordon Gould, US physicist

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

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Caption: Gordon Gould (1920-2005), US physicist. Gould was educated at Yale University, and then, from 1949, worked at Columbia University, New York. Gould worked on optical and microwave spectroscopy. At the time, many scientists were investigating ways to apply the maser (microwave-based laser) principle to optical light. In 1957, Gould proposed using a technique known as optical pumping to achieve Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER). Gould's notebooks contained the first recorded use of this acronym. The first working laser was built by Theodore Maiman in 1960. Over the next 30 years Gould fought a lengthy court battle to secure his patents and obtain royalties from laser companies. He eventually won, becoming a multimillionaire. Photographed circa 1985.

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