Lasers are constructed from three principal parts: an energy source called the pump source; a gain, or laser, medium where amplification takes place; and an optical resonator, usually formed by two or more mirrors. The first laser, built in 1960, used a ruby rod with polished ends and produced intense pulses of red light. Since then, various materials have been used as the active media in lasers, including solids, such as crystals, as well as gasses and liquids. What are superluminescent lasers?
Back in the day
In 1970, a 45-ft (14-m), 8-ton sperm whale died after beaching itself near Florence, Oregon. Charged with disposing of the carcass, the Oregon Highway Division decided that half a ton of dynamite would effectively break the whale into pieces small enough for scavengers to clear. The explosion, which launched large chunks of blubber so far that at least one car was damaged, was filmed by a TV crew and became the stuff of legend. Why did a 50-ton whale spontaneously explode in Taiwan in 2004?
Born on a day like today
Stanton was an American reformer and a leader of the women's suffrage movement. In 1840, she married abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton, and they attended the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London, where she joined Lucretia Mott in objecting to their exclusion from the assembly. A proponent of legal, political, and industrial equality for women, she later joined forces with Susan B. Anthony in the women's suffrage movement. What one word did Stanton famously omit from her marriage vows?