Charles H. Townes


Charles Townes was awarded half of the 1964 Nobel Prize in physics, which he shared with Nicolay Basov and Aleksandar Prokhorov who jointly won the other half. The three won the award "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.” Charles Townes contributed to many areas of physics, including isotope separation, nuclear spins, radar systems, microwaves, spectroscopy, and many more, but he is most noted for creating the first MASER or Microwaves Amplified by Stimulated Emission Radiation in 1954. This led shortly after to his work with Schawlow in the eventual creation of the LASER  (Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission Radiation) in 1960.