May 20, 2022

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Commemorate the laser’s 60th birthday with this enlightening quiz

Commemorate the laser’s 60th birthday with this enlightening quiz
In honour of the 60th anniversary of the invention of the laser, we invite you to test your knowledge of laser trivia. Warning: Do not look at laser with remaining eye. (Courtesy: iStock/ricochet64) 1. In the first laser – demonstrated on 16 May 1960 by Ted Maiman – the lasing medium was a crystal of…

In honour of the 60 th anniversary of the innovation of the laser, we welcome you to test your understanding of laser trivia.

Laser warning symbol
Warning: Do not take a look at laser with staying eye. (Courtesy: iStock/ricochet64)

1. In the first laser– demonstrated on 16 May 1960 by Ted Maiman– the lasing medium was a crystal of pink ruby. Which of the following compounds can likewise be made to lase?

A. Gin and tonic B. Flavoured gelatin (Jello) C. Carrots D. All of these

2. Before the name “laser” became extensively embraced, what were Maiman’s device and other subsequent prototypes called?

A. Optical masers B. Optical phasers C. Optical tasers D. Optical xasers


A. A Bell Labs scientist called Gillette who sustained minor burns in the first recorded laser-safety incident B. An American mispronunciation of gilet, the item of clothing set on fire throughout the very first recorded laser-safety event C. A New Jersey suburb where numerous of the early laser pioneers at Bell Labs lived D. The variety of razor blades the laser might cut through

4. The laser was at first explained as “a solution looking for a problem,” lasers were soon incorporated into many devices, consisting of something called a Bolt-117 What was it?

A. The very first lidar model, established in 1961 B. The very first surgical laser, established in 1962 C. The first laser-guided bomb, developed in 1967 D. The first laser pointer, developed in 1981

5. In the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger, the bad guy threatens to slice Bond in half with a laser. In Ian Fleming’s original book– released in 1959, prior to the laser was invented– what item takes its place?

A. A samurai sword suspended on a thread B. A circular saw C. An industrial meat mill D. There is no such scene in the book

6. Within what accuracy did astronauts on the Apollo 11 objective use a laser to measure the range between the Moon and the Earth?

A. 1 kilometre B. 1 metre C. 1 centimetre D. 1 millimetre

7. What was the first toy to incorporate a real laser?

A. Star Wars light sabre (1977) B. Star Trek phaser (1979) C. Glowing E.T. finger (1982) D. Ghostbusters proton pack (1984)

8. In the 1997 movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, the character Dr Evil wants to stick “giant frickin’ lasers” to the heads of which animal?

A. Beavers B. Dolphins C. Sharks D. Meerkats

9. Which center holds the current world record for laser power, at 10 PW?

A. The Extreme Light Infrastructure in Romania B. The Laser for Quick Ignition Experiments in Japan C. The National Ignition Facility in the United States D. The Station of Extreme Light in China

10 Plans for the Advancement Starshot project call for 1000 spacecraft to be moved through space using lasers. What are these (up until now theoretical) spacecraft meant to check out?

A. The outer limitations of Elon Musk’s ego

Stumped? Listen out for our next weekly podcast on 21 May, when we’ll expose the responses.

Cover of the journal J Phys Photonics

Sponsored by JPhys Photonics ™– an IOP Publishing open gain access to journal, showcasing the most considerable and interesting advancements in science, innovation and applications of photonics.

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