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August 2009 Newsletter


Watch Charles H. Townes Videos

Watch video interviews of Charles H. Townes, who recently celebrated his 94th birthday. In 1954, Townes and others created the first maser, the precursor to the laser, at Columbia University. Townes and Arthur Schawlow published a key theoretical paper in 1958 that helped lead to the development of the laser. They were jointly awarded the first laser patent in 1960. In the videos,Townes explains the history and development of the laser, and shares his views on the laser today and in the future.

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LaserFest on the Road Outreach Program

Proposals for LaserFest on the Road must be submitted by September 30th 2009. Several grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to encourage laser related outreach activities during 2010.

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Register for PhysicsQuest 2009

Registration for PhysicsQuest 2009 is now available! Designed for educators and individuals interested in outreach, PhysicsQuest kits are great for middle-school classrooms, afterschool groups, or your own children. Awesome prizes will be awarded to those who finish the complete set of PhysicsQuest activities. Registration is filling up fast, so hurry!

In "Spectra's Power" PhysicsQuest 2009, students will follow the ordinary school girl Lucinda Hene, as she transforms into the powerful Spectra, a superhero with the powers of a laser. To unlock the mystery of her origin and her powers, Spectra must defeat the evil super villain, the deadly Miss Alignment. As Spectra learns about her past, students will learn about why lasers are one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. They will do experiments that highlight why lasers are extraordinary tools for unlocking the mysteries of our world. Meanwhile, students will be helping Spectra and her team save the world from the clutches of Miss Alignment.

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Spectra Comic Book

Copies of the "Spectra: The Original Laser Superhero" comic book, will be available online and in print in 3 weeks. More information coming soon.

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Interested in Outreach?

If you are a student or scientist interested in finding middle-school classrooms in your area to do outreach activities, please contact Dr. Rebecca Thompson-Flagg, head of APS public outreach by phone at 301-209-3206 or by email at Thompson-Flagg@aps.org.

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August 2009

In This Issue:

  • New Videos
  • LaserFest on the Road
  • PhysicsQuest 2009
  • Spectra Comic Book
  • Interested in Outreach?

LaserFest Posters

Request the New LaserFest Posters for your Classroom or Lab. Discover the answers to these "laser teaser questions" on www.laserfest.org.



Make sure you register your LaserFest events on our website, so they can be posted on our Events Calendar.

Downloadable logos are now available, to be used publicly for LaserFest-related events and activities.

Did You Know?

Theodore Maiman's paper describing the operation of the first laser was published in Nature on August 6th 1960, after being rejected by Physical Review Letters.

Support LaserFest

To make LaserFest a truly spectacular event, we need your help! Organizations, individuals, or corporations who contribute to the exciting LaserFest projects and programs planned for 2009-2010 are ensuring that the wonders of the laser and the importance of scientific innovation will reach the public to the fullest extent.

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