The Man Who Invented the Laser: The Genius of Theodore H. Maiman (Genius Inventors and Their Great Ideas)

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9780766041387: The Man Who Invented the Laser: The Genius of Theodore H. Maiman (Genius Inventors and Their Great Ideas)

Maiman was a graduate of the University of Colorado, which awarded him a B.S. in engineering physics in 1949. Later, he received his Ph.D. in physics in 1955 from Stanford University and began work at the Hughes Research Laboratory (HRL). There he concentrated on creating a device capable of converting mixed frequency electromagnetic radiation into highly amplified and coherent light of discrete frequency. Maiman later found that the accepted calculations of the fluorescence quantum efficiency of ruby were wrong and that the material could be used for his research. His persistence with ruby eventually paid off, for on May 16, 1960, the device he built using it became the world’s first operable laser (acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation).

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Books in the Genius Inventors and Their Great Ideas series offer colorful, accessible introductions to individual American inventors. Each book features five chapters of text, laid out in wide-spaced lines of fairly large type. Illustrations include contemporary color photos as well as period photos of the inventor from childhood through adulthood. In each book, the back matter has an identical, chapter-length section of advice and encouragement called “You Be the Inventor.” In Laser, Ted Maiman builds on his childhood interest in electricity when he grows up to invent the first laser. While older students will crave more information, books in the series do serve a practical purpose, presenting a simple account of the inventor’s life and work in an attractive format. Some libraries may have volumes on the same subjects from an earlier version of the series, Genius at Work! Great Inventor Biographies. There are updates on the time line and bibliography pages. Caution: although the authors are the same, the books have been retitled. Grades 2-4. --Carolyn Phelan

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