Watching your favorite movie on DVD. Surfing the web for an elusive piece of information. Saving time and scanning your own barcodes in the self check-out at the grocery store. Without the work of scientists 50 years ago to create the laser, we wouldn’t have these and countless other technologies today.

The first laser was successfully operated in 1960. This milestone marks one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century – one that has revolutionized the way we live.

For 2010, American Physical Society (APS), Optical Society of America (OSA), and SPIE organized LaserFest, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser that emphasized its impact throughout history and highlighted its potential for the future. Through a series of events and programs, LaserFest helped showcase the prominence of the laser in today’s world.

The LaserFest website continues to be a valuable resource, containing:

  • Facts on the laser and its role in our daily lives
  • A timeline of important events in laser history
  • Profiles of influential laser physicists
  • Fun and informative videos of lasers in history and popular culture
Gray arrow LaserFest Website

Images from the Year of LaserFest

Slicing into the laser replica cake.
Slicing into the laser replica cake.