Charles H. Townes

Nationality: American

Area of concentration: Quantum electronics

Townes's invention of the maser was a result of his investigation into the means of using stimulated emission of atoms for amplification of microwaves. An essential ingredient of Townes's discovery was the creation of an inverted population of atoms.


Alfred Kastler

Nationality: French

Areas of concentration: Optical spectroscopy and Hertzian resonances

Kastler's discovery in 1950 of double resonance and his combining of this method in 1952 with the technique of optical pumping resulted in new knowledge of atomic structure and led to the development of masers and lasers between 1952 and 1958 by Townes in the United States and Prokhorov and Basov in the Soviet Union.

Robert S. Mulliken

Nationality: American

Area of concentration: Structural chemistry

Through the application of quantum mechanics, Mulliken developed the theory of molecular orbitals, which provided new insight into the structure of the chemical bond. He also studied molecular spectra and isotope separation.


Ronald G.W. Norrish

Nationality: British

Areas of concentration: Photochemistry and reaction kinetics

Norrish contributed much to the maturation of the field of photochemistry and to the study of the kinetics of very fast chemical reactions. In the development of the technique of flash photolysis, he added immeasurably to the understanding of processes as diverse as polymerization and combustion. Laser spectroscopy

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