Inventor of Laser, Charles Townes, to Receive National Academy of Engineering Award
Charles H. Townes, inventor of the laser and a professor of the graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley, has been named the recipient of the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) 2000 Founders Award. He will receive the award on October 22, during the NAE's Annual Meeting.
Townes developed the path-breaking maser-laser principle, which is the foundation for modern electronics and communication technology. He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the field of quantum electronics, related to his invention and demonstration of microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, known as the maser. The discovery led to the subsequent invention of the laser with his brother-in-law Arthur Schawlow.
The maser has had important applications in astronomy, communications, and precise timing. But the laser is still more widely known and used in medicine, cutting and welding, precision measurements, communications, information storage, and many other industrial and scientific applications.
The NAE established the award in 1965 to recognize an Academy member's life-long contribution to engineering and whose accomplishments had benefit to the people of the United States. The award consists of a gold medallion, a $2,500 cash award, and a hand-scribed certificate.
Also, on October 22, the National Academy of Engineering will present the Arthur M. Bueche Award to Dr. Charles M. Vest, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. The Bueche Award is presented annually for statesmanship in science and technology, as well as active involvement in determining science and technology policy, promoting technological development, and contributing to enhancement of the relationship between industry, government, and universities.
Each year the NAE salutes leaders in engineering for their lifetime dedication to their field and their commitment to advancing the human condition through great engineering achievement. The NAE dedicates more than $1 million to recognize these leaders and to bring better understanding of the importance of engineering to society.
The National Academy of Engineering is an independent, nonprofit institution. Its members consist of the nation's premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for their seminal contributions to engineering. As such, the Academy is an invaluable national resource, providing leadership and guidance to government on the application of engineering resources to social, economic, and security problems. The NAE, established in 1964, operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.