Peter Franken recalls how the laser discoveries excited physicists

Interviewed by Joan Bromberg, 1985

Click here to listen to the interview.


Let me tell you about the OSA [Optical Society of America] meeting. It was held in Pittsburgh, in 1961 in Pittsburgh.... That was Panic City. The halls were packed. Normally with an invited paper at the Optical Society, you might draw a hundred people. There might be two or three click-click-clicks of cameras taking pictures of the slides. These halls were packed, the ballroom was packed, for this invited paper. I remember as a high point Charlie [Townes] — I'm sorry, Art Schawlow getting up, giving a talk: every slide he projected, there was a veritable staccato machine gun fire of Minoltas going off. It was unbelievable! Panicville. Everybody wanted to get in on it.