Going Where No One Has Gone Before

The Development of Lasers

A laser is a device that produces an unusually powerful beam of light that does not exist on its own in nature. Today this light is used to perform thousands of useful tasks.

Lasers in Science and Industry

Today scientists, lab technicians, engineers, and industrial technicians regularly utilize lasers to perform a wide range of important tasks. They measure distances, both short and long, with lasers, giving astronomers, geographers, and surveyors much more accurate figures than were available before the invention of these devices.

Lasers in Communication and Marketing

Just as a person who can read and write is said to be literate, a laser that can read and write can also be thought of as literate. Such a feat is possible because of the joining together of the laser and another modern supertool—the computer.

Military Applications of Lasers

The U.S. military became interested in lasers even before the first lasers had actually been built.

Medical Uses of Lasers

In the early days of lasers it came as a surprise that these tools of light could be used in the science of medicine, since no one envisioned that they might be able to heal or otherwise improve people's physical well-being. But doctors and medical researchers quickly began to see the possibilities, and the number of uses for medical lasers multiplied over the years.

Lasers in Entertainment

Scientists have found many tasks and uses for lasers. These devices regularly measure, cut, drill, weld, read, write, send messages, solve crimes, carry telephone conversations, burn plaque out of arteries, and perform delicate eye operations.

The Future of the Laser

Modern technology is advancing so quickly that the average person simply cannot keep up with it. Even some scientists are occasionally unaware of discoveries being made in other fields.


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