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by Jeff Hecht

Download Beam: The Race to Make the Laser fb2, epub

ISBN: 0199738718
Author: Jeff Hecht
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 26, 2010)
Pages: 288
Category: Physics
Subcategory: Science
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 871
Size Fb2: 1705 kb
Size ePub: 1293 kb
Size Djvu: 1732 kb
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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.

Jeff Hecht met his first laser as a Caltech undergraduate in 1968, and took a while to figure out what it was good for. 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.

Jeff Hecht has been writing about lasers and optics for thirty-five years After finishing the book I decided to home build a laser device in my basement ( probably a CO2 or He-Ne laser ) and discovered there are a lot of laser fans out there.

Jeff Hecht has been writing about lasers and optics for thirty-five years. After finishing the book I decided to home build a laser device in my basement ( probably a CO2 or He-Ne laser ) and discovered there are a lot of laser fans out there.

Beam: The Race to Make the Laser by Jeff Hecht. Oxford University Press, 2005. The early years of the laser, focusing on the work of Townes, Schawlow, and Maiman. Lasers by Anthony E. Siegman. University Science Books, 1990. One of the best introductory books on lasers for college-level students, written by a Stanford Professor. Principles of Lasers by Orazio Svelto. Another detailed student text for undergraduates. Laser Pioneers by Jeff Hecht. Academic Press, 1992. The story of the laser, including interviews with 15 of the key pioneers.

In 1954, Charles Townes invented the lasers microwave cousin, the maser. Each took the idea and ran with it. The independent-minded Gould sought the fortune of an independent inventor; the professorial Townes sought the fame of scientific recognition. Townes enlisted the help of his brother-in-law, Arthur Schawlow, and got Bell Labs.

Although there Beam‘s subtitle is ‘the race to make the laser’ and this was a story that was crying out for a good popular scientific history. Not only is there really interesting physics behind the laser, there was a genuine tense race, strong personalities, bizarre problems with security clearances and more to make for a gripping story.

When compared to other laser types, the Free Electron Laser (FEL) provides optimal beam quality for successful atmospheric propagation.

Instead of enjoying the view of the Pacific from his new office window, Theodore Maiman closeted himself in a windowless lab, where he slipped a spring-shaped photographic flashlamp over a stubby ruby rod, then put the assembly inside a reflective cylinder. Firing pulses with higher and higher voltage through the lamp, he carefully studied oscilloscope traces of the rise and fall of the ruby's red fluorescence. When compared to other laser types, the Free Electron Laser (FEL) provides optimal beam quality for successful atmospheric propagation.

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

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. In 1954, Charles Townes invented the laser's microwave cousin, the maser.

Jeff Hecht has written about lasers, optics, and fiber optics for more than 30 years, and has published 11 books. Hecht has been writing about lasers since 1974. He was a featured speaker at SPIE Photonics West 2010 as part of the Advancing the Laser celebration. One of his presentations there was "How Theodore Maiman Made the First Laser" at the SPIE Fellows luncheon.

In 1954, Charles Townes invented the laser's microwave cousin, the maser.

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.In 1954, Charles Townes invented the laser's microwave cousin, the maser. The next logical step was to extend the same physical principles to the shorter wavelengths of light, but the idea did not catch fire until October 1957, when Townes asked Gordon Gould about Gould's research on using light to excite thallium atoms. Each took the idea and ran with it. The independent-minded Gould sought the fortune of an independent inventor; the professorial Townes sought the fame of scientific recognition. Townes enlisted the help of his brother-in-law, Arthur Schawlow, and got Bell Labs into the race. Gould turned his ideas into a patent borth ation and a million-dollar defense contract. They soon had company. Ali Javan, one of Townes's former students, began pulling 90-hour weeks at Bell Labs with colleague Bill Bennett. And far away in California a bright young physicist named Ted Maiman became a very dark horse in the race. While Schawlow proclaimed that ruby could never make a laser, Maiman slowly convinced himself it would. As others struggled with recalcitrant equipment and military secrecy, Maiman built a tiny and elegant device that fit in the palm of his hand. His ruby laser worked the first time he tried it, on May 16, 1960, but afterwards he had to battle for acceptance as the man who made the first laser. Beam is a fascinating tale of a remarkable and powerful invention that has become a symbol of modern technology.

Comments:

Maveri
I like this book a bunch. It tells us, not only of how the invention came to be, but the emotions and personalities of the people racing to bring this idea into fruition. The discovery of the LASER required hard work and determination, not only from the laboratory effort, but also to overcome the situations from other companies and competitors. And in addition, the different personalities involved and their own situations added to the difficulty of making the LASER real.

This book gives insight of the struggle of those scientists, who want to bring discovery into the real world.
MrCat
The story is narrated from a neutral point of view and gives a clear picture of the laser research across the various labs ( Bell, TRG, Hughes, IBM, Varian ).
This overview was previously unavailable, given that the other laser books were written by some of the actors ( Townes, Maiman ) and are not neutral.
The technical aspects are explained quite simply and the writing style keeps you entertained with the right amount of trivia.
After finishing the book I decided to home build a laser device in my basement ( probably a CO2 or He-Ne laser ) and discovered there are a lot of laser fans out there.
Well done Mr Hecht.
GAMER
An excellent book. This is a most highly recommended read for anyone interested in the history of laser development. It's written with a nice amount of technical details. The laser (all types) changed our lives just as the transistor did!
Nuadador
I appreciate the effort it took to tell this story. I was on the edge of my seat at times. There were some really special people doing some rather fantastic science. "Pushing the envelope" is the polite translation of what my dad would say. I was also told this is the most accurate version he had read.
September
I thought that Jeff Hecht's "City of Light" was a better book but the race became better and better when you get further into it. The writing was casual, informative and descriptive and the technical information slowly evolved (not overbearing) as progress was made by the various principals. Yes, it was a science telenovela. However, I think he should have written a Chapter 20 to give a Wikipedia-like roundup or summation of laser theory and applications. I think the author was persuasive on his remarks on Maiman missing out of the Nobel.

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