Gould's notes on lasers, 1957

Gould's notes on lasers, 1957

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

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Caption: Gould's notes on lasers. Gordon Gould (1920-2005), US physicist, was working in the 1950s 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 the technique of optical pumping to achieve Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER). Gould's notebooks contained the first recorded use of this acronym (at top of the page). 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.

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