On May 16, 1960, working at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California, Theodore Maiman and his co-workers C. K. Asawa and I. J. D’Haenens switched on a makeshift device that they had assembled, and hoped for the best. The device was revolutionary, yet deceptively simple and elegant–its essence was a powerful coiled flash lamp surrounding a synthetic, single-crystal ruby rod. The brilliant pulsed lamp excited chromium ions in the ruby, which then emitted a bright fluorescent pulse of red light. But the experimenters looked more closely and saw what they were hoping for, something much more unusual: a telltale burst of coherent radiation superimposed on the normal fluorescence. This team had just created the first working example of a laser. — Thomas M. Baer, LaserFest.org
At this extraordinary moment, the Hughes Researchers could not have known the myriad uses the laser would come to be employed. A new exhibit at the University Libraries Main Library, “50 Years of Laser Innovation,” explores the beginnings of the laser, it’s many uses today and takes a peek at the future of the laser.
The exhibit opens with a laser demostration by Dale Stille and graduate students in Physics and Astronomy department in the North Exhibition Hall of the Main Library.
Thursday, March 25
North Exhibition Hall, Main Library
For questions, contact Science Librarian Kari Kozak at 335-3024.