06 January 2010

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE has launched a new series of video interviews with leaders in laser technology, as part of the international optics and photonics society's celebration of the 50th anniversary this year of the invention of the laser. The first laser was demonstrated by its inventor, Theodore Maiman, on 16 May 1960 at Hughes Research Labs in Malibu, Calif.

The laser, with extensive applications in healthcare, entertainment, communications, security, research, space exploration, manufacturing, and numerous other areas, has enabled a plethora of scientific advances as well as profound improvements in everyday life.

In the SPIE Advancing the Laser video series, leaders in current laser research and development talk about new advances and the technology's history. The collection of 5- to 7-minute video interviews can be viewed online in the SPIE Newsroom Advancing the Laser video page. They include:

  • "Rox Anderson, Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard School of Medicine, and symposium chair of SPIE Biomedical Optics at Photonics West, talks about the important role of lasers in medicine, from cancer to heart disease and his own specialty, dermatology.
  • "Joshua Bienfang, physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Electron and Optical Physics Division, shows a free-space quantum cryptography system on the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

At least one new video in the series will be posted each week through the SPIE Optics + Photonics symposium in August.

Celebrating at Photonics West

SPIE has organized a display honoring laser legends and luminaries, an exhibit of more than 80 laser devices, and other anniversary tribute activities during the Society's Photonics West symposium in San Francisco, running 23-28 January at the Moscone Center. Both the tribute display and equipment exhibit are accessible at no charge to registrants of the free Photonics West exhibition, as are an industry panel on the history and future prospects of laser technology and a World Khet tournament.

A "Cirque du Lasaire" welcome reception, special speakers, a student best-paper prize, and training for a laser-science outreach program are accessible to paid conference registrants. See the Photonics West conference program for details.

Advancing the Laser efforts at Photonics West are supported by Biophotonic Solutions, DILAS, Edmund Optics, HellmaOptik, CVI Melles Griot, Newport, New Focus, NUFERN, OptoSigma, Spectra-Physics, Toptica Photonics, TRUMPF, and Laser Focus World magazine.

New technical articles on laser advances are posted regularly on the Advancing the Laser website. Recent additions include:

In addition to the Advancing the Laser tribute, SPIE is a Founding Partner and Sponsor of LaserFest, a community-wide celebration of the laser anniversary.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 188,000 constituents from 138 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world. For more information, visit SPIE.org.

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Media contact:
Amy Nelson
SPIE Public Relations Manager
Tel: +1 360 685 5478