Townes-Gordon-Zeiger maser, 1955

Townes-Gordon-Zeiger maser, 1955

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

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Caption: Townes-Gordon-Zeiger maser, at Columbia University, New York, USA, in 1955. US physicist Charles Hard Townes (1915-2015) is at left, and his graduate student James Power Gordon (1928-2013) is at right. This apparatus was developed by Townes and Gordon, together with postdoctoral student Herbert Zeiger. It was the second maser they built. Like the first, completed by 1954, it was based on the excitation of ammonia. Maser is an acronym formed from the phrase Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It was for this work that Townes was awarded a share of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics.

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