The History Of The Laser: Updated 2016
Written and told by Ali Javan, on the occasion of our now commemorating the 50th anniversary of the lasers presently. Having a beginning of it in a historic event as it took place on 12th December the year 1960, at 4:20 PM. Where, and for the first time in the history of the lasers, there emanated from the output, of what proved as the original historic gas discharge laser light source, a collimated propagating 'continuous wave', CW laser light beam. A CW laser light beam with a color purity and an accuracy and for the first time, as the laws of nature will permit: the original historic Hellum Neon gas discharge laser light source, operating as told on 12th December 1960 — at 4:20 PM and that which initiated and as shall be told, a beginning in much that followed thereafter in lasers and by now 5 decades since.

Yet: This now historic event however, proved to have itself a historic beginning. Which by as a full decade of much that took place in this extended period of a decade, through and up to the historic 12th December 1960 event itself.

The history of the laser is an exciting story told here. Often taking place itself within an exciting ongoing story itself, of which little is known, and shall have to be told. And that further as one exciting event that shall have to be told here is that of the historic origin of the 'optical pumping effect'. And that which proved to have its original beginning long-before the lasers. In what took place, so unexpectedly yet, at CNRS in Paris originally — in as early as 1947. And yet following much that took place which lead to the discovery of the crystalline Ruby, that of ruby R Line which proved to have an optical gain of special interest. Having its origin — in the discovery of the 'optical pumping effect', and long before the lasers. An exciting story as shall have to be told.

The history of the laser told here, is an exciting story of which not much is known.

This website shall tell that story in what shall follow presently.
Ali Javan, is Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, emeritus presently.
Albert Einstein World Medal of Science (1993) A photograph of professor Ali Javan
From Scientific American, June 1961
Color photograph of the original well-known historic Helium Neon gas discharge laser light source. The photograph itself is historic taken within days time following, completion of its design and driving it into its self sustained oscillation mode, in optical region of spectrum, for the very first time.
Courtesy Smithsonian Institution, photograph by Harold Dorwin.
Javan's original 1960 helium-neon gas discharged laser light source. Presently preserved at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington DC.
It shall be of special interest to reproduce and give here the recently updated list of Professor Ali Javan honors and awards:
For that please follow the link below:
Please Click Here
      The following passage is from Professor Ali Javan's MIT Bio sketch reproduced here, which reads:
Professor Javan is the first Named Francis Wright Davis Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is recognized for his original contributions and, for his considered leadership in the field of lasers and quantum electronics. He won international acclaim for his original invention of the world first laser capable to operate continuously, and to operate at an unprecedented color purity and accuracy.

He conceived the working principle of this original laser and predicted its potential early in the summer of the year 1958—as it took place at a time nothing was known of lasers. And while a member subsequently of the research staff at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, he initiated an extended research with much anticipation at the Bell laboratories, and successfully succeeded to operate this original laser on December 12th, 1960. The well-known historic Helium Neon gas discharge laser light source operated, for this very first time, at its unprecedented color purity and accuracy.

This original invention is as well as the first to operate continuously, is the very first just as well, to operate on the principle of converting the electrical energy in a light emitting gas discharge serving as a light source—to a coherent collimated laser light beam, at its unprecedented accuracy and color purity. The discovery soon attracted worldwide attention, and as it proved, initiated much that followed in lasers thereafter.
As a historical Note:
The 50th anniversary of the lasers (2010) since this very beginning of it, on this 12th December the year 1960: where in which, for this very first time, emanated from the output of this original laser. A collimated, continuous wave, CW, light beam—at a color purity as it proved—to the limits that laws of nature will permit.
  • The historic event took place at 4:20 PM, on this December 12th the year 1960.
  • And yet, what as it proved just as historic, is an event as it took place within weeks time. Following, the 12th December 1960 event itself.
  • As an added note, Re. this above: Please keep in mind:
  • The only, predictable potential use of a laser light source at the time: Had been solely and solely, in a potential use of its collimated light beam—to serve as a link, in transmitting a telecommunication signal, the telephone and so on. Predicted as shown at a transmission speed, by orders of magnitude faster than, what had been possible at the time.

    What took place within weeks time of this, original historic December 12th, 1960 event, proved just as historic—in the course of events in lasers. As it made use of this now collimated light beam: To serve as a Link: In transmitting a telecommunication signal—that of telephone signals: Now at these ultrahigh transmission speeds—at these ultrahigh frequencies, in the optical region of spectrum.
    A historic event organized by the Bell Telephone Laboratories, which made the headline news.
  • Please access:
  • Original Historic December 12th 1960 Event
  • The history of the laser shall be now told here presently, from its original beginning of it. A full decade, preceding—the December 12th event. That of which little is known.

  • Where as the historical account of it as told here shall have it, just a few of us, initiated what took place which led to the lasers—and hence this above. And hence, much that followed thereafter
  • What follows now: tells the story of the laser here presently. Beginning with an introductory note. Which is hoped the readership shall inspect it. As it gives how this website is organized and told in what follows.
    Yet however, little is known of an exciting historic event as it took place within weeks time following this original historic invention of 12th December the year 1960. And as what took place in this weeks time initiated much that followed in lasers thereafter and throughout the time—and up to the present. And hence, it is called-for that we give an account of what took place here, of much interest presently.
    There always is as it seems, an exciting story in an invention of special significance as in here. And which shall have to be told.
    And, as an added note to keep in mind, what shall be told and covered here presently, are mainly from the records of this original historic invention, as referenced and told in what follow presently.
    Please Click Here.
    What follow is the historical account of lasers, since its original beginning to be accessed below.
  • Introductory Note
  • The Period Preceding the Laser
  • The Maser Period - Preceding the Laser
  • The Original Helium Neon Gas Discharge Laser Light Source:
  • - Part 1: The working principle: The Quantum mechanics of the effect.
    - Part 2: The experimental phase.
    - Part 3: The historical 12th December 1960 event.
    - Part 4: The possibility in 1930s (an interview with Betty Blair)
  • The Historic Origin at CNRS in Paris of the Optical Pumping Effect: Long and Long Before The Lasers
  •        On Crystalline Ruby R Line: With a Self Terminating Optical Gain.
           (As the Discovery Follow on of the Optical Pumping Effect at CNRS in Paris)
    - Part I: The historic origin of the optical pumping effect.
    - Part II: Its potential accessed by the optical pumping effect.
  • Lasers and Quantum electronics: A historical account
  • Lasers and Measurements: Accuracy and precision
  • Lasers and Nanophotonics: New class of devices and ongoing works
  • Biographical Information
  • Publication List
  • MIT Dissertation and Thesis Advisees
  • Link to webmaster

    Wikipedia Link Wednesday, 28-Sep-2016 23:22:14 EDT