Thomas Maiman (left), working at Hughes Research Laboratory in Malibu, California, succeeds in "firing" a device that produces a very narrow, very powerful beam of light. The breakthrough takes place amid a "laser race," as scientists elsewhere were working along similar lines at the time. Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
* Short summary: @
* How a laser works: @
* American Institute of Physics online exhibit: @
* History of Bell Labs' work: @
* 50 facts about lasers: @