From the summer of 1978 to November 1979, I worked for the man who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 for the invention of the Maser—Dr. Charles Townes. (He also is responsible for the laser, which came later, but did not win the Nobel Prize for that.) In 1958, Townes and his brother-in-law, Dr. Arthur Schawlow, showed theoretically that masers could be made to operate in the optical and infrared region and proposed how this could be accomplished in particular systems. This work resulted in their joint paper on optical and infrared masers, or lasers (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Other research has been in the fields of nonlinear optics, radio astronomy, and infrared astronomy. Dr. Townes was the lead researcher in the construction of the Infrared Spatial Interferometer, the first astronomical interferometer to operate in the mid-infrared. With Dr. Schawlow, he wrote the book Microwave Spectroscopy, published in 1955.
I also worked for Dr. Raymond Chiao, who worked under Dr. Townes. Dr. Chiao was first to measure the quantum tunneling time, which was found to be between 1.5 to 1.7 times the speed of light. His main focus now is on detecting gravitational waves through the use of superconductors.
I was Dr. Chiao’s secretary but also helped support Dr. Townes and the rest of the Astrophysics Graduate Group at UC Berkeley. I typed dissertations and pre-prints for physics journals and was in charge of the department library. I remember that black holes were a new thing back then. And I see from doing a little research today that Dr. Townes "and his assistants detected the first complex molecules in interstellar space and first measured the mass of the black hole in the center of our galaxy.”
Apparently Dr. Townes, even though he is 93 years old, is still doing research in astrophysics at UC Berkeley. I was excited to happen upon this interview with my old boss in 2001. I haven’t seen him in almost 30 years. It is best to start watching a little before ¼ of the way through. BTW I just noticed a mistake on the You Tube title. It's Charles Hard Townes, not W.
Although I worked for these guys for a year and a half, I understood more from reading Dr. Kaku’s book than I ever did working daily with these scientists. They were a good bunch to work for, though, and I will always think fondly of my experience there.
You can't judge a book by its cover.
The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.