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Arthur L. Schawlow

Arthur L. SchawlowAKA Arthur Leonard Schawlow

Born: 5-May-1921
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, NY
Died: 28-Apr-1999
Location of death: Palo Alto, CA
Cause of death: Heart Failure [1]

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian [2]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Laser spectroscopy

Working with Charles H. Townes, American physicist Arthur L. Schawlow proposed extending the principles and function of the maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) to the optical wavelengths, and in 1957 they published the first practical guide to construction of a laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). The 1960 patent on the laser is in both their names, although the first working laser was constructed by Theodore Maiman later that same year. With Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai M. Siegbahn, Schawlow won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1981. Townes his brother-in-law won the Nobel Prize in 1964. Schawlow is the namesake and in 1982 became the first recipient of the Laser Institute of America's Arthur Schawlow Medal.

[1] "Congestive heart failure and pneumonia after a long battle with leukemia", according to Stanford's press release announcing his death.

[2] "We are fortunate to have the Bible and especially the New Testament which tells us so much about God in widely accessible human terms."

Father: Arthur Schawlow
Mother: Helen Mason
Wife: Aurelia Townes (sister of
Charles H. Townes, d. 1991 auto accident, one son, two daughters)
Son: Arthur Keith ("Artie", autistic)
Daughter: Helen Aurelia Johnson
Daughter: Edith Ellen Dwan ("Edie")

    High School: Vaughan Road Academy, York, Ontario, Canada (1945)
    University: PhD, University of Toronto (1949)
    Fellow: University of Toronto (1949-50)
    Teacher: Columbia University (1950-51)
    Professor: Molecular Spectroscopy, Stanford University (1961-91)

    Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Medal 1962
    IOP Thomas Young Medal 1963
    IEEE Morris Liebmann Memorial Award 1964
    California Scientist of the Year 1973
    OSA Frederic Ives Medal 1976
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1981 (with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai M. Siegbahn)
    LIA Arthur Schawlow Medal 1982
    National Medal of Science 1991
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 1996
    Bell Laboratories Physicist (1951-61)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Physical Society President, 1981
    National Academy of Sciences
    Optical Society of America President, 1975
    Canadian Ancestry Maternal
    Jewish Ancestry Paternal
    Latvian Ancestry Paternal

Author of books:
Microwave Spectroscopy (1955, physics; with Charles H. Townes)

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