Charles Townes

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Related to Charles Townes: Nikolay Basov

Townes, Charles


Born July 28, 1915, in Greenville, S.C. American physicist.

Townes was a student in Greenville in the period 1931–37, and from 1937 to 1939 he did graduate work at the California Institute of Technology. From 1939 to 1948 he worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., and in 1948 he took a position at Columbia University, where he became a professor in 1950. In the years 1961–66, he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in 1967 he became chairman of the physics department at the University of California at Berkeley; in 1967 he also became president of the American Physical Society. Townes’ research has dealt mainly with quantum electronics. Independently of A. M. Prokhorov and N. G. Basov, Townes proposed a new principle governing the generation and amplification of electromagnetic waves, and, working with others, he used this principle to develop the first quantum generator—the maser. Together with A. Schawlow, Townes established the possibility of building an optical quantum generator (laser). He has also employed the methods of quantum electronics and nonlinear optics in astrophysics, and, working with others, he discovered in 1969 the maser effect in space. Townes was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1964.


In Russian translation
“Poluchenie kogerentnogo izlucheniia s pomoshch’iu atomov i molekul.” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 1966, vol. 88, issue 3, pp. 461–83. (Nobel lecture.)
“Molekuly i plotnye oblaka v mezhzvezdnom prostranstve.” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 1974, vol. 112, issue 2, p. 325. (With others.)
Radiospektroskopiia. Moscow, 1959. (With A. Schawlow.)


Dunskaia, I. M. Vozniknovenie kvantovoi elektroniki. Moscow, 1974.


References in periodicals archive ?
It was built in 1988 under the direction of Nobel Laureate Charles Townes, co-inventor of the laser.
Caption: Charles Townes with an early maser in 1955, [c] AP
1951 Charles Townes describes how ammonia gas can emit radio waves, laying the theoretical groundwork for the maser (the microwave version of the laser).
Edward Moses of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab will speak about 50 years of laser research at that facility; Charles Townes of Berkeley will discuss the laser's beginnings; and Tony Siegman of Stanford University will present side notes on the history of the laser.
Charles Townes shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in physics for his role in the laser's invention and at age 94 remains active in research at the University of California, Berkeley.
It's unclear why Betelgeuse has shrunk and whether it will later rebound, said Nobel laureate Charles Townes, retired from the University of California, Berkeley.
However, Gould's delay in applying for a patent allowed physicist Charles Townes, also at Columbia, to file a patent application for the "optical maser,' Townes's term for the laser.