Everyday Einstein: Lasers

Einstein work helped in the making of many things! Here's how his ideas led to lasers :


Scientists pondered the nature of matter and energy and how they interact. They knew that energy comes out of matter as light, but how was a mystery...

comic strip scene of 3 scientists staring at beam of light with speech bubble that says "What's going on here?"


By imagining electrons being forced into unstable orbits in an atom, Einstein figured out how energy could be released by atoms. By making the discovery, he helped pave the way for the invention of lasers...

comic stip scene with Eistein asking "How about a little light on the subject?" and and diagram of electron orbiting an atom


Scientists can now make the electrons in atoms all emit the same kind of energy in the same direction in a narrow beam. 

comic strip scene of 2 scientists viewing a laser and exclaiming "A-Ha! Eureka! Our laser works!"


Did you know the word LASER stands for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation"? Lasers are used in all sorts of things today, including supermarket checkout scanners, medical equipment and CD players. A tiny laser is used to read the bumps and grooves on a CD and translate the pattern into sound.

Image Credits:

Photos: Michael Shara: courtesy of Denis Finnin, AMNH; Illustrations: Equation Invasion: Tony Persiani; Everyday Einstein: Daryll Collins; Light the Way: Space cop: Daniel Guidera; Electromagnetic Spectrum: Eric Hamilton