Theodore H. Maiman

Theodore H. Maiman Winner of Wolf Prize in Physics - 1984
Theodore H. Maiman


The Physics Prize Committee for 1983/4 has unanimously chosen the following three candidates to equally share the award for their distinct pioneering contributions in the field of experimental condensed matter physics.

Theodore H. Maiman
Maiman Associates
Marina del Rey, California, USA

for his realization of the first operating laser, the pulsed three level ruby laser.

Erwin L. Hahn
University of California
Berkeley, California, USA

for his discovery of nuclear spin echoes and for the phenomenon of self-induced transparency.

Sir Peter Hirsch
Oxford University
Oxford, United Kingdom
for his development of the utilization of the transmission electron microscope as a universal instrument to study the structure of crystalline matter.

Professor Erwin L. Hahn´s research demonstrated that a collection of spinning nuclei could retain a coherent memory for a period of time and made it possible to extend the use of magnetic resonance techniques for a variety of purposes in science, engineering and medicine including the storage and retrieva l of information. Optical self-induced transparency is an outstanding example of nonlinear interaction between matter and high intensity light pulses. The experiments of Hahn elucidate concepts´ of statistical mechanics and collective excitations in complex (many-body) systems.

Professor Peter Hirsch developed the use of the transmission electron microscope, to study imperfections in the structure of metals, ceramics and other materials. His work has made it possible to examine such solids in far greater detail than is possible with the optical microscope.

Dr.Theodore H. Maiman. The impact of lasers on many technological fields is well known. They are used, for example, as cutting tools in metallurgical and textile industry, as scalpels in surgery, as alignment devices in the construction industry, as length and frequency standards in scientific applications. The original ruby laser of Maiman was instrumental in establishing the new sub field of non-linear optics, which explores the properties of matter at extremely high light intensities. It has also been used in ranging experiments to measure the earth-moon distance with retro-reflectors set-up by the moon astronauts.