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Gordon Gould - History of the Laser

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Fibre optics with laser

Fibre optics with laser

Getty Images/Kim Steele

Gordon Gould - Laser History:

Gordon Gould was the first person to use the word "laser". Gould was a doctoral student at Columbia University under Charles Townes, the inventor of the maser. Gordon Gould was inspired to build his optical laser starting in 1958. He failed to file for a patent for his invention until 1959. As a result, Gordon Gould's patent was refused and his technology was exploited by others. It took until 1977 for Gordon Gould to finally win his patent war and receive his first patent for the laser. Gould Gould and his assignee, Patlex Corporation, held the basic patents.

Gordon Gould - Biography:

  • Gordon Gould was born on July 17 1920 in New York City.
  • He received his Bachelors Degree from Union College, in physics and optics.
  • He received his Masters of Science in physics (spectroscopy) from Yale University in 1943.
  • He did post graduate work in physics at Columbia University where he studied optical spectroscopy and microwave spectroscopy.
  • During World War II, Gordon Gould was part of the Manhattan Project and researched the separation of uranium isotopes for the purposes of generating nuclear power.

Gordon Gould - Laser Patents:

Gordon Gould received U.S. patents 4,053,845 and 4,704,583 for "Optically Pumped Laser Amplifiers; Light Amplifiers Employing Collisions to Produce a Population Inversion"

Gordon Gould - LASER Acronym:

Gordon Gould began jotting down ideas for a laser in 1957. In a notebook he wrote, "Some rough calculations on the feasibility of a LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation." This was the first use of the acronym for LASER.
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