APS News

June 2010 (Volume 19, Number 6)

Food, Drink and Lasers on the Hill

Congress at Laserfest web

Photo by Michael Lucibella

On April 28, the foyer of the Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill was crowded as members of Congress, congressional staffers, and representatives of the scientific community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the laser. Eleven different organizations mounted demonstrations and displays around the perimeter, which the crowd enjoyed along with the refreshments. Especially popular were the LED “throwies” that were distributed by the LaserFest booth and that can be seen glowing on several attendees’ lapels in the photo. The crowd was also treated to a brief address by Tom Baer of Stanford University, who emphasized the considerable economic impact achieved by the laser since its beginnings in a research lab in 1960.