Art News

National Museum of American History Marks 50 Years of Lasers

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History marks the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser with a special display case on the first floor. “Fifty Years of Lasers” explores the types of lasers developed over the past half century and their wide range of uses. Theorized by Albert Einstein in 1917, the first working laser was developed in 1960 by American physicist Theodore Maiman. Inventors at IBM and at Bell Labs demonstrated different types of lasers later that year. Since then the laser has been adapted into a wide variety of functions. From grocery store scanners to fiber-optic communication, more than 55,000 patents involving the laser have been issued in the United States. “Fifty Years of Lasers” features objects from the inventors and examples of practical and entertaining uses of lasers. “The laser has made critical contributions to science in the p