Happy birthday laser. The story so far

Find out its milestones and its key players

01 June 2022
Happy birthday laser. The story so far
The engineer Theodore Maiman fired a laser for the first time on 16 May 1960. To celebrate this date we pay homage to the key players who contributed to the invention of the laser and its applications.

Enjoy the reading!
Albert Einstein
At the beginning of the last century it was none other than Albert Einstein to first postulate the possibility of stimulating atom or molecule systems excited through a specific interaction with electromagnetic radiation. The aim was to produce additional radiation, thus amplifying the original one sent to the system. 
Gordon Gould
You probably already know that the acronym LASER is the work of American physicist Gordon Gould. There is a funny story behind its selection that we would like to tell you. The main characters are Gordon Gould and Arthur Schawlow, a physicist that we will find in the next paragraph.
During a conference in 1955 Gould introduced the acronym for the first time in the title of his speech: "The L.A.S.E.R., Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation".
Schawlow objected that the device was more of an oscillator than an amplifier and thus suggested that L.O.S.E.R. - Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation - would be more appropriate.
And we all know what loser means. Not exactly what we would call “a good omen”. History has shown that the laser is anything but a loser and we try to demonstrate this every day.
Charles Townes e Arthur Schawlow
The key figures in the third step of our journey in the history of the laser are Charles Towne and Arthur Schawlow, who were the first to describe the theoretical principle of the optical maser, or laser, in 1958.
A close relative of the laser, the maser was a device able to emit radiation in the form of microwaves, resulting in the first two letters of the acronym (Microwave Amplifier).
Thanks to the contribution of these scientists it was possible to develop laser technology as a form of light amplification.
Theodore Maimann
“Laser is a solution seeking a problem”.
This is the perfect debut, pronounced by the protagonist of the fourth event in our journey. We are talking about Dr. Theodore Maimann, who made history on 16 May 1960: his solid-state laser, which used ruby crystal, emitted the first coherent and monochromatic light with a 694 wavelength, thus proclaiming the invention of the first device. 
Maimann’s definition was published in the New York Times in 1964 and became emblematic. The physician unquestionably was ahead of his time by guessing the enormous potential and countless applications of this instrument.
Nikolaj Basov, Aleksandr Prokhorov e Charles Townes
In 1964 Nicolay Gennadiyevich Basov, Alexander Prokhorov and Charles Hard Townes won the Nobel Prize for physics ”for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle”.
What attracts us to this instrument is its incredible versatility: once the theoretical bases were defined the use applications began to blossom day by day.
Andrea Lodetti e Silvano Balduzzi
A lot remains to be told, but with a leap in time worthy of a film, we skip forward to 1999 when two young men from Bergamo, decided to open a start-up to apply laser technology to moulds..
Initially discovering this instrument during their studies, they never stopped improving their knowledge on it and exploring its potential. 
We are talking about Andrea Lodetti and Silvano Balduzzi, the founding partners of ML Engraving. And it is to them that we dedicate this additional milestone in the history of laser, as a sign of gratitude and esteem for what they have been able to create from back then until the present day.
The laser has come a long way since that 16 May 1960 when it started operation for the first time. A path that has been filled with obstacles and discoveries, challenges and satisfactions, which now projects us towards the future.
Indeed: laser or nothing!