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Townes, Charles H.
Oral history interview with Charles H. Townes, 1979 June 18 and 20.
Childhood and youth; his family life and siblings; education at Furman during the Depression, 1931-1935; merit scholarship. Graduate study at Duke University in 1936; shifts to Caltech during second year; early interest in astronomy; works with Fred Zwicky. His first job, at Bell Telephone Laboratories, from 1939-1947; scientific associates (Dean Wooldridge, William Shockley). Discussion of work on microwave spectroscopy, and NH3 spectrum; competition with Bleaney and Good. Accepts I. I. Rabi's offer to join Columbia University faculty in 1948. Interest in molecules, atoms (not solid state physics), and in short microwaves; comments on teaching, students, and faculty; department head from 1952-1955. Inventions of the maser and laser in the 1950s, background ideas; Treshkas' and Lamb's writings on stimulated emission. Purcell, Pound, Dicke did not think of maser; discussion of the effects contributing to the appearance of simultaneity of inventions. Masers in radioastronomy; consultantship at BTL; joint laser invention with Arthur Schawlow. Interactions with Gordon Gould; BTL's interest in the laser.
Bleakney, Walker, 1901-
Dicke, Robert H. (Robert Henry)
Gould, Gordon, 1920-2005
Lamb, Willis E. (Willis Eugene), 1913-2008
Pound, Robert Vivian
Purcell, Edward M.
Rabi, I. I. (Isidor Isaac), 1898-1988
Schawlow, Arthur L., 1921-1999
Shockley, William, 1910-1989
Townes, Charles H.
Wooldridge, Dean E.
Zwicky, F. (Fritz), 1898-1974
Bell Telephone Laboratories
California Institute of Technology
Columbia University
Duke University.
Furman University.
Atomic and molecular physics.
Microwave spectroscopy.
Radio astronomy
Oral histories. aat
Interviews. aat
Sound recordings. aat
Transcripts. aat
Smith, William, interviewer.
American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA