Iranian-American Gas Laser Inventor Dies at Age 89

Saturday, September 17, 2016 - 14:14

Professor Dr. Ali Javan, Iranian-American physicist and inventor at MIT and world leader in the field of lasers and quantum electronics, died on Friday September 16th 2016.

Professor Javan was born on December 26, 1926 in Tehran. He received the Ph.D. degree in physics in 1954 from Columbia University in New York City under the direction of Charles Townes. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, he joined the research staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey in September, 1958. In 1961 he joined the MIT faculty, where he continued to teach and conduct research up to the present, ISNA reports.

The world leader in the field of lasers and quantum electronics conceived of the gas laser principle in 1958, while a member of the Bell Laboratories technical staff, and in 1960 he brought this concept to fruition, successfully operating the well-known and widely-used helium-neon laser. This invention, the first laser to operate continuously, attracted immediate international attention and laid the foundation for a great deal of subsequent work.

He was awarded the 1964 Stewart Ballentine Medal of the Franklin Institute, the 1966 Fanny and John Hertz Foundation Medal, the 1975 Fredrick Ives Medal of the Optical Society, and the 1993 Albert Einstein World Medal of Science of the World Cultural Council for his work on gas lasers.


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