Lasers in the Library, Mar 25 at 7 p.m.

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,

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
7 p.m.
North Exhibition Hall, Main Library

For questions, contact Science Librarian Kari Kozak at 335-3024.