Masers

Interviewed by
Joan Bromberg
Interview date
Abstract

Research on masers and lasers at RCA's Princeton Laboratories, 1955-1961. Work on the Dicke hot-grid cell maser. The 3-level solid-state maser program. Entrance into laser-work after Theodore Maiman's announcement of an operating ruby laser. Also prominently mentioned are: Nicolaas Bloembergen, Robert Henry Dicke, Hank Reudrich Gerritsen, Herriott, Ali Javan, Henry Lewis, Theodore Maiman, and Rolf Peter.

Interviewed by
Joan Bromberg
Interview date
Location
University of California, Berkeley
Abstract

Whinnery trained many prominent maser and laser scientists in his University of California, Berkeley Electrical Engineering laboratories. This interview touches briefly on the functioning of the Electrical Engineering department from about 1950 to the early 1970s, Whinnery’s own research into laser subjects like thermal lensing, his relation to National Science Foundation funders, and his students and their projects.

Interviewed by
Robert W. Seidel
Interview date
Location
B.D.M. Corporation, Virginia
Abstract

Laser work at Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory (AFCRL) (Rudolph Bradbury); early work on ruby lasers (Charles H. Townes, John Howard); Department of Defense (DOD) high-energy laser program; Steve Harris and Anthony DeMaria; optical masers and phased array lasers; CO2 laser at Avco-Everett; reform of service laboratories (Peter Schweitzer), 1960s; laser color centers and pump light attenuation (application to rangefinders); interaction with Office of Naval Research; spinoffs of laser research. Laser damage studies at AFCRL (q-switching); instigated by Peter Avizonis and Art Guenther; Raman light (R. K. Chang), development of Optical Parametric Oscillators; simulated Brillouin scattering (George Wolga); tunable laser work (Tony Siegman, Steve Harris); Avco Gas Dynamic Laser (GDL); Erlan Bliss and Dave Milam; Stickley replaced by Howard Schlossberg; dispersion of laser damage group; transfer of laser glass and damage experience to DOE—Livermore. Stickley moves to Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); Glenn Sherwood, Maurice Sinnot, Ed Gerry, David Mann, Steve Lukasik; Laser Window Program; DARPA interdisciplinary materials science program; Chemical Laser Damage Program (J. A. Harrington). Joins the Department of Energy (DOE) and its laser fusion program; politics and recruitment; Lawrence Livermore Laboratory vs. Los Alamos National Laboratory; DOD vs. DOE laboratories. The Strategic Defense Initiative; Stickley moves to Battelle Memorial Institute.

Interviewed by
Joan Bromberg
Interview date
Location
Hughes Research Laboratories
Abstract

Maser research at Hughes Research Laboratories. The laser; Maiman’s work; building a laser rangefinder; Q-switching; stimulated Raman scattering; other laser research. The impact of Sputnik and the Vietnam War on Hughes Aircraft Co. Procedures for selecting research projects.

Interviewed by
Finn Aaserud
Interview dates
May 20 and 21, 1987
Abstract

Early education and exposure to field; attends Duke University; graduate work at California Institute of Technology; Caltech environment; work with Smythe; develops interest in spectroscopy. Accepts position at Bell Laboratories; shift from research to engineering; attempts to pursuade Bell Labs to become involved in microwave spectroscopy. Impact of war on development of spectroscopy and physics in general. Interest in astronomy. Accepts I. I. Rabi's job offer at Columbia; work conditions at Columbia versus Bell Labs. Forms advisory committee on millimeter waves; on Navy committee for infrared radiation; feelings about committee work. Work on service advisory committees prior to position as director of research at the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA). Involvement in Office of Naval Research (ONR) committees on millimeter waves and infrared radiation; purpose and outcome of work, including development of maser concept; participation in non-service advisory committees; work at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Acceptance of IDA position; circumstances and considerations involved; views on direction of IDA. Involvement in establishing JASON?establishing clearances, convincing Pentagon. JASON organizational structure; selection of projects and members; extent of Townes' own involvement in projects; impact of JASON on government advising and social policy.

Interviewed by
William V. Smith
Interview dates
June 18 and 20, 1979
Abstract

Childhood and youth; his family life and siblings; eduation 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 and Bell Telephone Laboratories, from 1939-1947; scientific associates (Deal Woodridge, William Schokley). 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 physicians), 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; Teshkas' and Lambs' writings on stimulated emission. Purcell, Pound, Dicke did not think of maser; discussion of effects contributing to the appearance of stimultaneity of inventions. Masers in radioastronomy; consultantship at BTL; joint laser invention with Arthur Schawlow. Interactions with Gordan Gould; BTL's interest in the laser.

Interviewed by
Sheldon Hochheiser
Interview date
Location
Princeton, New Jersey
Abstract

This interview covers the education and professional career of physicist Joseph Giordmaine, who spent his professional career at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey (1961-1988), NEC laboratories, Princeton, New Jersey (1988-1998) and Princeton University (1998-2005). Giordmaine earned his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. in physics at Columbia, studying masers under Charles Townes. Most of his research was related to lasers and non-linear optics, with particular focus on phase matching, optical parametric generation, picosecond correlation light duration measurements, and non-linear properties of liquids. Recollections of people include Charles Townes, Ali Javan, Willard "Bill" Boyle, Arno Penzias, and Kumar Patel. For detail on Giordmaine's early laser work, this oral history can be read in conjunction with an oral history Giordmaine did for the Center for the History of Physics in 1985 as part of the laser history project.

Interviewed by
Joan Bromberg
Interview date
Location
Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey
Abstract

Graduate and postgraduate work at Columbia University under Charles H. Townes, 1955-1961; the maser receiver for the Naval Research Laboratory. The early quantum electronics conferences at Schwanga Lodge (1959), Berkeley (1961) and Puerto Rico (1965). Nonlinear optics researches at Bell Laboratories and Munich's Technische Hochschule, 1961 to about 1968; optical parametric oscillators. Picosecond pulse measurement techniques.

Interviewed by
Joan Bromberg
Interview date
Location
Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey
Abstract

Graduate and postgraduate work at Columbia University under Charles H. Townes, 1955-1961; the maser receiver for the Naval Research Laboratory. The early quantum electronics conferences at Schwanga Lodge (1959), Berkeley (1961) and Puerto Rico (1965). Nonlinear optics researches at Bell Laboratories and Munich's Technische Hochschule, 1961 to about 1968; optical parametric oscillators. Picosecond pulse measurement techniques.

Interviewed by
Joan Bromberg
Interview date
Location
Hughes Research Laboratories
Abstract

Harold Lyon's Atomic Physics group at Hughes in the mid-1950s; Theodore Maiman's researches in the group; electron cyclotron-resonance for the generation of millimeter waves; improved portable ruby masers. Maiman's knowledge of I. Weider's proposals for optically pumped solid-state masers; Maiman's view of the trustworthiness of Weider's quantum-efficiency measurements. The effect upon Maiman of the Schawanga Lodge conference. The budget for Maiman's laser experiments; details of the experimental work.