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Laser Inventor Townes Left Impressive Legacy

It is difficult to overstate the impact that laser beam inventor Charles Townes’ work had on the world. Supermarket scanners, DVD players, laser printers, medical devices used to perform eye surgery, the precise measurement of time, the long-distance surveying of stars and planets — all of these technologies stemmed from the development of the laser by Townes, who died this week at age 99. During a visit to Washington, D.C., in the early 1950s, as he sat on a park bench across from the...

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