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Laser: The Inventor, the Nobel Laureate, and the Thirty-Year Patent War

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Laser: The Inventor, the Nobel Laureate, and the Thirty-Year Patent War Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1957 Gordon Gould, then an obscure physicist and perennial graduate student, conceived one of the revolutionary inventions of the twentieth century — the laser. But before he could submit a patent application, a prominent professor of physics whose office was next door to Gould's filed his own laser patent claims. Gould fought to reclaim the rights to his work, beginning a battle that would last nearly thirty years. Many millions of dollars, as well as the integrity of scientific claims, were at stake in the litigation that ensued. Laser is Gould's story — and an eye-opening look at the patent process in America, the nexus of the worlds of business and science.

Gould was struggling to finish his Ph.D. thesis when he struck upon the concept for the laser, or Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Light waves, Gould realized, would form a single concentrated beam when reflected between two mirrors inside a gas-filled chamber. Even as he was sketching his invention, Gould foresaw the tremendous potential of the laser in industry, communications, and the military. For three days he feverishly documented his ideas in a notebook, which he had notarized in a candy store near his Bronx apartment.

A small technology firm took a great interest in Gould's laser and soon won a Defense Department contract to develop lasers for the military. Ironically, Gould was denied a security clearance because of his past communist associations, and so was unable to work on his own invention. He could only watch from the sidelines as colleagues tried to build a working laser in a desperate race with larger, better-funded research labs.

Meanwhile, Gould's rival, Charles Townes, had everything that Gould lacked, most notably important academic and government appointments and esteem in the scientific community. In the dispute between the two men, few doubted Townes's word, while nearly everyone scoffed at Gould's claims. But Gould's determination was unyielding, and he fought everyone who stood in his way, including the U.S. Patent Office, major corporations, and the entire laser industry, until he finally won. Gordon Gould, the courts ruled, had invented the laser.

Laser is a grand story of technology and law. Nick Taylor has extensively interviewed Gould as well as other key participants in the battle over the laser's invention and patents. In this riveting account of genius, rivalry, and greed, he shows just how difficult it is for the legendary lone inventor to prevail when the license to a valuable invention is at stake.

Synopsis:

"Laser" is the fascinating, true story of Gordon Gould's successful 30-year struggle to assert himself as the right inventor of the laser, and a myth-shattering, behind-the-scenes account of the American patent process. of photos.

Synopsis:

In 1957 Gordon Gould, then an obscure physicist and perennial graduate student, conceived one of the revolutionary inventions of the twentieth century — the laser. But before he could submit a patent application, a prominent professor of physics whose office was next door to Gould's filed his own laser patent claims. Gould fought to reclaim the rights to his work, beginning a battle that would last nearly thirty years. Many millions of dollars, as well as the integrity of scientific claims, were at stake in the litigation that ensued. Laser is Gould's story — and an eye-opening look at the patent process in America, the nexus of the worlds of business and science.

Gould was struggling to finish his Ph.D. thesis when he struck upon the concept for the laser, or Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Light waves, Gould realized, would form a single concentrated beam when reflected between two mirrors inside a gas-filled chamber. Even as he was sketching his invention, Gould foresaw the tremendous potential of the laser in industry, communications, and the military. For three days he feverishly documented his ideas in a notebook, which he had notarized in a candy store near his Bronx apartment.

A small technology firm took a great interest in Gould's laser and soon won a Defense Department contract to develop lasers for the military. Ironically, Gould was denied a security clearance because of his past communist associations, and so was unable to work on his own invention. He could only watch from the sidelines as colleagues tried to build a working laser in a desperate race with larger, better-funded research labs.

Meanwhile, Gould's rival, Charles Townes, had everything that Gould lacked, most notably important academic and government appointments and esteem in the scientific community. In the dispute between the two men, few doubted Townes's word, while nearly everyone scoffed at Gould's claims. But Gould's determination was unyielding, and he fought everyone who stood in his way, including the U.S. Patent Office, major corporations, and the entire laser industry, until he finally won. Gordon Gould, the courts ruled, had invented the laser.

Laser is a grand story of technology and law. Nick Taylor has extensively interviewed Gould as well as other key participants in the battle over the laser's invention and patents. In this riveting account of genius, rivalry, and greed, he shows just how difficult it is for the legendary lone inventor to prevail when the license to a valuable invention is at stake.

About the Author

Nick Taylor is the author or coauthor of eight books, including the national bestseller John Glenn: A Memoir, and numerous articles for magazines, including Esquire and The New York Times Magazine. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684835150
Subtitle:
The Inventor, the Nobel Laureate, and the Thirty-Year Patent War
Author:
Taylor, Nick
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Lasers
Subject:
Physicists
Subject:
Science & Technology
Subject:
Optics
Subject:
General science
Copyright:
Series Volume:
050-93
Publication Date:
20001115
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.54x6.35x.98 in. 1.10 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Reference » Science Reference » Patents and Inventions
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology

Laser: The Inventor, the Nobel Laureate, and the Thirty-Year Patent War Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Simon & Schuster Books - English 9780684835150 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Laser" is the fascinating, true story of Gordon Gould's successful 30-year struggle to assert himself as the right inventor of the laser, and a myth-shattering, behind-the-scenes account of the American patent process. of photos.
"Synopsis" by , In 1957 Gordon Gould, then an obscure physicist and perennial graduate student, conceived one of the revolutionary inventions of the twentieth century — the laser. But before he could submit a patent application, a prominent professor of physics whose office was next door to Gould's filed his own laser patent claims. Gould fought to reclaim the rights to his work, beginning a battle that would last nearly thirty years. Many millions of dollars, as well as the integrity of scientific claims, were at stake in the litigation that ensued. Laser is Gould's story — and an eye-opening look at the patent process in America, the nexus of the worlds of business and science.

Gould was struggling to finish his Ph.D. thesis when he struck upon the concept for the laser, or Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Light waves, Gould realized, would form a single concentrated beam when reflected between two mirrors inside a gas-filled chamber. Even as he was sketching his invention, Gould foresaw the tremendous potential of the laser in industry, communications, and the military. For three days he feverishly documented his ideas in a notebook, which he had notarized in a candy store near his Bronx apartment.

A small technology firm took a great interest in Gould's laser and soon won a Defense Department contract to develop lasers for the military. Ironically, Gould was denied a security clearance because of his past communist associations, and so was unable to work on his own invention. He could only watch from the sidelines as colleagues tried to build a working laser in a desperate race with larger, better-funded research labs.

Meanwhile, Gould's rival, Charles Townes, had everything that Gould lacked, most notably important academic and government appointments and esteem in the scientific community. In the dispute between the two men, few doubted Townes's word, while nearly everyone scoffed at Gould's claims. But Gould's determination was unyielding, and he fought everyone who stood in his way, including the U.S. Patent Office, major corporations, and the entire laser industry, until he finally won. Gordon Gould, the courts ruled, had invented the laser.

Laser is a grand story of technology and law. Nick Taylor has extensively interviewed Gould as well as other key participants in the battle over the laser's invention and patents. In this riveting account of genius, rivalry, and greed, he shows just how difficult it is for the legendary lone inventor to prevail when the license to a valuable invention is at stake.

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