Discovering a Laser

William T. Silfvast

An enthusiastic recounting of the early days of the helium cadmium laser—a twisting path with many characters that started at the University of Utah.


figureLight emitted by a He-Cd laser.

My enthusiasm for optics and photonics began in 1960, shortly after the first demonstration of the laser, and has continued to the present day. I was fortunate to work with professors in those early days who had interests in optics and lasers and were willing to share that interest with me. During that time, Professor Grant Fowles and I were very fortunate to make many interesting laser discoveries in a variety of heated metal vapors.

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