Nobel Prize Laser Technology
This is the Nobel Prize medal for physics awarded to Dr. Charles H. Townes in 1964 for the development of laser principles. The gallery has a large laser technology interactive center and features two other South Carolina Nobelists, Dr. Joseph Goldstein and Dr. Kary Mullis.
Charles H. Townes Center
Here you can explore one of the greatest inventions of modern times--the laser. The exhibits lead visitors on a voyage of discovery from the workings of the atom to the wonders of space.The center also provides an exciting learning environment for children and adults through hands-on exhibits, the Science Theatre and a changing science gallery.
Among the items on exhibit is the Nobel Prize awarded to Dr. Townes in 1964 for his work on the maser and the laser. Dr. Townes has the basic patent for the maser. He and his brother-in-law, Dr. Arthur Schawlow, hold the basic patent for the laser, which was first called the optical maser. Dr. Schawlow of Stanford University, also a Nobel laureate, was co-chairperson for the science panel for the planning of the Townes Center.
Exhibits reveal the principles of electromagnetic energy, explain how the laser works, and focus on applications of this revolutionary, versatile technology. Such technology has allowed man to send many thousands of messages at a time through a strand of glass 1/10 the size of a human hair, to create the most perfect recording of music ever made, to measure time and distance with an accuracy never before possible, to slice through a fir tree four feet in diameter, to microscopically spot-weld a computer chip, to pierce a diamond and to repair the delicate tissues of the eye. The laser has saved the sight of millions around the world.