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Research on nonlinear optics at the University of Michigan, 1961 to 1964, laser education at Berkeley, 1964-1966; color centers, laser damages, and dye lasers at Raytheon, 1966-1973, and medical applications at University of Southern California, after 1973. Experimental laser techniques and their evolution and the institutional context of research at each of these sites. Also prominently mentioned are: John A. Armstrong, Nicolaas Bloembergen, Colin Bowness, William B.
Boyer, former head of the laser division at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, discusses the origins of the Los Alamos Laser Program, the influence of Air Force Weapons Laboratory (AFWL) High-energy Laser Program on his own program, the connection with his earlier nuclear rocket propulsion studies; Abraham Hertzberg’s proposal of the gas-dynamic laser concept and his visit to Los Alamos to discuss laser function.