Born May 5 1921 - Died Apr 28 1999
Masers and Maser Communications System
Patent Number(s) 2,929,922
Arthur L. Schawlow was co-inventor of the laser. He worked with Charles H. Townes, who was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1976.
Schawlow and Townes were seeking ways to extend the maser principle of amplifying electromagnetic waves into the shorter wavelengths of infrared and visible light. They published a proposal for the laser in a 1958 issue of Physical Review and received a patent for it in 1960. By the end of the 1960s, eye surgeons were already routinely using lasers, taking advantage of the fact that they can be made minutely small and precisely focused. In 1961, Schawlow became professor of physics at Stanford University. It was in 1981 that Schawlow received the Nobel Prize in physics for his work in laser spectroscopy.
Today, the laser is prevalent in many areas, including the medical, defense and communications fields.
Schawlow was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and went on to attend the University of Toronto, graduating with a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics in 1941. During the war, while teaching physics to military personnel at the university, he earned his master's degree. In 1949, Schawlow received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Toronto. While doing postdoctoral research at Columbia University he met Charles Townes, and their long collaboration on microwave spectroscopy began. Schawlow was also a recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics.