50, 100, 150 Years Ago; June 2011; Scientific American Magazine; by Daniel C. Schlenoff; 1 Page(s)
“All conventional light sources are essentially noise generators that are unsuited for anything more than the crudest signaling purposes. It is only within the last year, with the advent of the optical maser, that it has been possible to attain precise control of the generation of light waves. Although optical masers are still very new, they have already provided enormously intense and sharply directed beams of light. These beams are much more monochromatic than those from other light sources; at their best optical masers rival the very finest electronic oscillators as a source of a single frequency. The development of optical masers is moving so rapidly that they should soon be ready for a wide variety of applications. —Arthur L. Schawlow”
This device is today called a laser. Schawlow was a co-winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics.