Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

More than 30,000 photos of scientists and their work

Attention ESVA patrons:

The Emilio Segrè Visual Archives’ site is moving soon and adopting an open access approach to digital image sharing. Once we have transitioned to the new site in 2021, we will no longer charge for our high-resolution digital images or usage fees (note that we do not hold copyright to all the images in our collections and you will still need to obtain permission for those which we do not own).

If you are working on a long-term project, we advise you to wait until the migration is complete so that you may obtain our copies for free. If you cannot wait, email us at nbl [at] aip.org and we will do what we can to assist you. We will not be offering refunds for past purchases.

For more information, please visit our FAQ page on the Ex Libris Universum blog. 

Maiman Theodore F1

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Maiman Theodore F1

Jeff Hecht
Image title: 
Theodore Maiman shows a cube of synthetic ruby crystal
Credit line: 
Copyright: Hughes Research Laboratories. For copies and permission to publish, please contact Hughes Research Laboratories, [email protected], [email protected] or www.hrl.com.

'Full Many a Gem of purest ray serene' has electronic-age implications never intended in Gray's Elegy as a result of man's first achievement of a 'coherent' light source, which could produce 'the purest colors ever known.' Dr. Theodore H. Maiman of Hughes Aircraft Company shows a cube of synthetic ruby crystal that forms the 'heart' of a laser (from Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), which generates the light. The light source (at top) is used to excite the tightly-packed atoms in the ruby which then amplify the laser's light into an intense parallel beam.

Photo date: 
July 1960
Original format: 
2 photographic prints (black and white; 10 x 8 inches)
Maiman, Theodore H.