Townes, Charles H(ard) biographical name
(born July 28, 1915, Greenville, S.C., U.S.) U.S. physicist. He studied at Furman University, Duke University, and the California Institute of Technology and worked for Bell Labs before joining the faculty of Columbia University (1948). In the early 1950s he and his students constructed the first maser and showed that a similar device producing visible light was also possible. For his role in the invention of the maser and later the laser, he shared a 1964 Nobel Prize with Aleksandr M. Prokhorov (1916–2002) and Nikolay G. Basov (1922–2001).
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