Laser inventor Charles Townes is dead at 99

January 28, 2015 2:22 PM

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Physicist Charles Townes, who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in physics for his work inventing the laser and maser, died on Tuesday at age 99. U.C. Berkeley, where Townes had been a professor since 1967, said he had been in poor health and died on the way to the hospital. He had visited campus daily until last year.

Townes was 35 in 1951 when he conceived the idea for the maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), an instrument that concentrated microwaves instead of optical light. He built the first maser in 1954, then developed the idea for the laser (light amplification by the stimu...

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