Arthur L. Schawlow

Arthur Schawlow

Awarded the Marconi Prize in 1977

Cited for his research in the fields of optical and microwave spectroscopy, nuclear quadruple resonance superconductivity and lasers.

Presented by: H. M. King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden, at the Ulriksdal Palace, Stockholm in 1977.

1921 – Born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and his family later moves to Toronto.

1949 – Receives a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Toronto, and becomes a research associate and fellow at Columbia University, working with Charles Townes.

1951 – Joins Bell Labs as a research physicist, and marries Aurelia Townes, sister of Charles Townes.

1955 – Co-authors the book Microwave Spectroscopy with Townes.

1957 – Begins working with Townes on the principles of a device — the laser — that could operate at shorter wavelengths than the maser.

1958 – Proposes with Townes in a paper published in the December Physical Review that the principles of the maser could be extended to the optical regions of the spectrum.

1960 – Receives with Townes a patent for the invention of the laser. The first working laser, at 0.69 microns in ruby, is built by Theodore Maiman at Hughes Aircraft Company. Schawlow becomes a visiting professor at Columbia University.

1961 – Joins the Physics Department at Stanford University, concentrating on molecular spectroscopy.

1966 – Becomes chairman of the Physics Department at Stanford.

1981 – Receives the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy.”

1998 – Joins Townes and scientists from Bell Labs and around the world to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the laser at the CLEO conference in San Francisco.

1999 – Arthur Schawlow dies at 9:30 a.m, April 28, at Stanford Hospital.

Dr. Schawlow died in 1999.