Beam: The Race to Make the Laser

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Beam is the story of the race to make the laser, the three intense years from the birth of the laser idea to its breakthrough demonstration in a California laboratory. The quest was a struggle against physics, established wisdom, and the establishment itself.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hecht tells the story of the several competing laboratories that were attempting in the late 1950s to use the phenomenon of simulated emisson to produce a coherent and monochromatic light source. The story is interesting in its own right, both to physicists and engineers interested in the intellectual climate of the time and to the general public as an example of excitement and competition within the scientific community."—CHOICE
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199738717
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Hecht met his first laser as a Caltech undergraduate in 1968, and took a while to figure out what it was good for. In his case, it was a lot of words—he's been writing about lasers and optics for the past thirty years. His books include City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics (OUP, 1999), Understanding Lasers (1994), Understanding Fiber Optics (2002), Laser: Light of a Million Uses (1998), Optics: Light for a New Age (1988), and The Laser Guidebook (1991). He is a correspondent for the weekly international magazine New Scientist.

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Table of Contents

Prologue : May 16, 1960, Malibu, California 3
1 The laser race 7
2 Microwaves are the first step 19
3 Leaping a few orders of magnitude : the optical maser 33
4 The outsider's invention : the laser 46
5 Bell labs takes the early lead 60
6 Stimulating the emission of money 73
7 A spreading interest in the laser idea 83
8 A pause to compare notes 94
9 A dark horse joins the race 106
10 "Everybody knew it was going to happen within months" - Bell labs feels safely in the lead 116
11 A crash program at "Pipsqueak Inc." 127
12 The siren call of the laser 140
13 The critical question of efficiency 147
14 An idea simpler in theory than in practice 158
15 Triumph in the palace of science 169
16 An unexpected struggle for acceptance 183
17 "We were astounded" - a stunned reaction 195
18 Runners-up cross the finish line 209
19 Epilogue 221
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Main camp

    Main camp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    To lightfur

    Hi. Im brightpelt. I am a orane cat with silver eyes. Im always up for a hunt and i love adventure.

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