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 (centre, 1920-2005), US physicist, with Ben Senitsky, at TRG (Technical Research Group) laboratories in the USA in the 1950s. They are working with a maser (microwave-based laser). In the 1950s, Gould was one of several scientists investigating ways to apply the maser principle to optical light. In 1957, Gould proposed using the technique of optical pumping to achieve Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER). Gould joined TRG to build the first laser, but this was achieved instead by Theodore Maiman in 1960, working for the Hughes Research Laboratories. Over the next 30 years Gould fought a lengthy court battle to secure his patents and obtain extensive royalties from laser companies. He eventually won, becoming a multimillionaire.

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