Tripping the Laser Fantastic: A Look Back at LaserFest 2010

Tom Baer

As our global celebration of the birth of the laser ends, OSA Past President Tom Baer reflects on the year’s events and festivities—and the 50 years of laser history that preceded them.



In less than 50 milliseconds, 50 years ago, a simple but elegant device made from off-the-shelf components changed the world. A button was pushed, discharging a capacitor; then a flash lamp fired and chromium atoms absorbed visible light; finally, ruby red photons bounced off silver end mirrors, and a single red spot flashed for an instant on the wall, revealing hitherto unexplored properties of light.

Log in or become a member to view the full text of this article.

This article may be available for purchase via the search at Optica Publishing Group.
Optica Members get the full text of Optics & Photonics News, plus a variety of other member benefits.

Add a Comment