Carnegie wishes laser inventor happy 99th birthday
Nobel laureate and trustee emeritus Charles Townes is celebrating his 99th birthday on Monday, July 28.
Townes joined the Carnegie board in 1965, one year after he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Alexander Prokhorov and Nikolai Basov for the development of the maser, acronym for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, and its better-known optical counterpart, the laser.
Over the last half century, his discoveries have transformed the way we live our lives, by enabling or enhancing technology used in surgical devices, consumer electronics, data encoding, and communication networks.
He's been the recipient of 31 honorary degrees and 38 awards, including the 2006 Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board, the oversight body of the National Science Foundation, and the 2005 Templeton Prize for contributions "to affirming life’s spiritual dimension."
Townes is only now moving toward retirement from his work at the University of California Berkeley, where he will be celebrating this milestone birthday at a campus bash with his wife Frances.
"Carnegie is honored to have had a longstanding relationship with a scientific pioneer. His ongoing commitment to discovery is an inspiration to us all," said Carnegie President Richard Meserve. "Carnegie has benefited from his wisdom over the years and we wish him a very happy 99th birthday.