Charles Townes

How the Laser Happened - Sociology of Scientific Developments


Abstract

Invention and development of the laser provides a good example of the characteristics and sociology of scientific and technical developments. There are the natural lack of prior visualization of new breakthroughs, the somewhat frozen ideas of even the most brilliant scientists, the important interaction of different fields and exchanges of ideas between scientists, and the broad development of a field by the scientific and technical community after it has been initiated. Laser history will be discussed as an illustration of the sociology of science and technology."


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