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Artifact Walls - Fifty Years of Lasers

Fifty Years of Lasers

About the Artifact Walls
Artifact walls, consisting of 275 linear feet of glass-fronted cases lining the first and second floor center core, highlight the depth and breadth of the collections and convey that the Museum collects, studies and exhibits objects from our nation's rich and diverse history. The display is part of the special cases within the museum’s Artifact Walls that highlight anniversaries, new acquisitions to the collections and research findings.

About this case
This case explored the types of lasers developed over the past half century and their wide range of uses. Theorized by Albert Einstein in 1917, the first working laser was developed in 1960 by American physicist Theodore Maiman. Inventors at IBM and at Bell Labs demonstrated different types of lasers later that year. Since then the laser has been adapted into a wide variety of functions. From grocery store scanners to fiber-optic communication, more than 55,000 patents involving the laser have been issued in the United States.

The case featured:

  • objects from the inventors
  • examples of practical and entertaining uses of lasers.