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Charles Hard Townes

Charles Hard Townes

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Charles Hard Townes

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  1. Charles Hard Townes Nobel Prize Physicist Alexa Elizabeth Preston Charles

  2. Biography Charles Hard Townes was born in Greenville, South Carolina on July 28, 1915. He is an descendant of William Bradford, the leader of the Separatists who came to America on the Mayflower. His grandfather a state senator and was friends with John C. Calhoun. His three older siblings in order are Mary, Ellen, and Henry. His younger siblings are Aurelia and George.

  3. Biography Continued Dr. Townes and his wife, Francis Brown Townes, currently live in Berkeley, California. They married in 1941 and now have four daughters, Linda Rosenwein, Ellen Anderson, Carla Lumsden, and Holly Townes.

  4. Biography Continued Charles Townes graduated from Greenville High School in 1931 at the age of sixteen. He had a successful high school career- although his brother, Henry, urged him not to enroll in many science classes, but, instead to take mathematics classes. Thus, one of his high school mentors was his mathematics teacher. Townes says that this teacher wasn’t necessarily a role model, but he was a pleasant person to be around who enjoyed the same scholastic ideas as Townes.

  5. Accomplishments • The invention of the laser • The construction of the maser • The Nobel Prize in Physics • Graduated summa cum laude from Furman University • A professor at many esteemed universities

  6. Bibliography Reiss, Suzanne B.  "A Life in Physics: Bell Telephone Laboratories and World War II; Columbia University and the Laser; MIT and Government Service; California and Research in Astrophysics" 1994.  Online Internet.  15 November 2002. site helped us mainly with the interview.  It also showed what Charles Townes was like on a little more personal level.Nobel Lectures.  "Charles H. Townes - Biography."  25 September, 2002.  Online Internet.  18 November 2002. this site gave the group a somewhat short biography on the majority of Townes' life.  Lucent Technologies.  "The Invention of the Laser at Bell Laboratories:1958-1998."  1998.  Online Internet.  17 November 2002. was an excellent site that enabled the group to fully understand the ideas and inventions Charles Townes came up with. Nobel site helped the group when researching for information on Townes' Nobel Prize in Physics.

  7. Professional Career Almost nine years after joining Bell Labs in NYC, Townes became an associate professor of physics at Columbia University. Shortly after, he became the executive director of Columbia Radiation Laboratory. His times here led him to many ideas resulting in the laser and maser which ultimately leads him to a nomination of chairman of Columbia’s Physics Department. In 1959, Townes became vice-president and director of research for the Institute of Defense Analysis in Washington, DC. Then, after receiving the Nobel Prize, he became the Institute Professor at MIT and the University professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley. Surprisingly, 20 years later, Townes was named Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the University of California at Berkeley.

  8. The Maser Charles Townes also lent construction efforts towards the invention of the maser, MicrowaveAmplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, in 1953. The Maser is a way for the sensitive reception of communications and for exact navigation.

  9. The Laser Charles Townes invented the Laser, Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, in 1958 along with the publication of Arthur L. Schawlow’s Infrared and OpticalMasers. This is a picture of Charles Townes along with scientist Samuel McDunn. The two are standing in front of a High Power Pulsed Laser.

  10. College Education In 1935, Townes received his BA and BS from Furman University. Two years later, he received his Masters from Duke University. In 1939, he received his Ph. D. from Caltech which led to his employment at Bell Laboratories. This scholastic background led to many professional opportunities for Townes.

  11. The Nobel Prize In 1964, Charles Townes shared one half of the Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolay Gennadiyevich Basov and Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov, both from the Soviet Union. As stated in the Nobel Museum, the three men earned the Nobel Prize "for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle."