In Memoriam: Charles Hard Townes, Inventor of the “Maser” – 1915-2015

Charles Hard Townes – 1964 Nobel Laureate in Physics – July 28, 1915-January 27, 2015

The invention of the laser can be dated to 1958 with the publication of the scientific paper “Infrared and Optical Masers” by Arthur L. Schawlow, then a Bell Labs researcher, and Charles H. Townes, then a consultant to Bell Labs. That paper, published in Physical Review, a journal of the American Physical Society, opened the door to a multi-billion-dollar industry and launched a new scientific field—as well as many careers.

Visions_of_Discovery_Townes Book Cover

Visions of Discovery: New Light on Physics, Cosmology, and Consciousness was part of a program developed in 2005 to honor the leadership and vision of Townes in his ninetieth-birthday year.

Beginning with the Amazing Light: Visions for Discovery symposium held at the University of California, Berkeley, in October 2005, the program, including the book, aimed to honor and amplify Townes’s vision and take it into the twenty-first century with new generations of researchers who continue to explore possibilities for investigating new, deep discoveries about the nature of the universe.

Ellipsis had the privilege of working on this program in honor of Professor Townes and served as developmental and managing editor of the book. We wish his family our sincerest condolences at this time of loss, and we hold Professor Townes, one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century, in fond and respectful memory.

Also see: Nobel laureate and laser inventor Charles Townes dies at 99 – News Center Berkeley, 2015/01/27, and Remembering the Energetic Contributions of Templeton Prize Winner Charles Townes, 1915-2015, 2015/02/12.



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