November 29, 2010
A pair of Nobel Prize winners received awards at the Laser Institute of America's 29th annual International Congress on Applications of Lasers and Electro-Optics (ICALEO®) in Anaheim, Calif., in September.
VU.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, 62, earned LIA's 2010 Arthur L. Schawlow Award, while laser pioneer Dr. Charles Hard Townes, 95, was presented with the organization's first Lifetime Achievement Award. Both received standing ovations after their presentations at the Sept. 29 awards luncheon.
Townes, who shares a patent for the laser with his late brother-in-law and fellow Nobel Prize winner Schawlow, told of how two Nobel Prize-winning professors senior to him tried to dissuade him from continuing his early research. He also recalled how the equations necessary to create lasers occurred to him as he sat on a park bench during a conference five decades ago.
Chu shared recollections of having been Schawlow's student, discussed the particulars of his work (cooling and trapping atoms using a laser), and emphasized his belief in the need to develop a carbon-constrained economy.
LIA, Orlando, Fla., is the professional society for laser applications and safety serving the industrial, educational, medical, research and government communities.