Born on July 17, 1920, in New York City, Gordon Gould was an American inventor who is attributed with the invention of the laser. This physicist fought court battles with the US Patents and Trademark Office for 38 long years to be considered as the real and actual inventor of the laser. He also obtained patents for the laser and related technologies, which became useful for later inventors to advance the use of this invention in various areas.
Our readers might not know some interesting things about this physicist. So, we have gathered 8 surprising and cool facts about this great inventor in this article.
Gordon Gould: 8 interesting facts about this American physicist and inventor
1. He attended Scarsdale High School
Gordon Gould was the eldest among the other 2 siblings. In those days, a magazine called Scholastic Magazine Publications was published from New York City, and his father was one of its founders. He spent his childhood in Scarsdale and went to Scarsdale High School.
2. Gould had an interest in optics
He had an interest in optics and spectroscopy. At Union College, he took admission to a Bachelor of Science program with specialization in physics subject. Meanwhile at college, he was an active member of the Sigma Chi Association. After completing his bachelor’s, he took admission to Yale University and started to study Masters of Optics and Spectroscopy, an interesting fact about Gordon Gould.
After completing his Master’s degree, he became a member of the team, which started work on the Manhattan project in March 1944. He was also a member of the Communist Political Association. During January 1945, he was terminated from the Manhattan project due to his affiliation with the Communist Association.
3. He studied at Columbia University
In the year 1949, he took admission in a doctorate program at the Columbia University. During this time, he worked in microwave spectroscopy and optical. The Nobel Prize winner Polykarp Kusch was his supervisor for this doctoral project. He guided Gould to develop specialization and gain working experience of optical pumping. It was during 1956 that Gordon Gould proposed exciting a maser using optical pumping technique.
He discussed the idea with Charles Townes, the inventor of maser and a professor at Columbia University. Townes suggested Gould to file for a patent about this invention.
4. Gordon Gould Invented Laser
He left for Columbia without completing his doctoral degree and started work with the Technical Research Group in the year 1958. He aimed to complete work on laser invention.
In the year 1959, Gould filed for a patent because he was required to develop a prototype of his design. Gould faced legal battles to get his copyright registered. It was because Townes and Schawlow applied for a patent on behalf of Bell Laboratories, and they were granted the license. After hearing it, Gould filed a case about the license and claimed that he was the first to conceive the device. This initiated battle between the two parties and Gould’s claims were considered valid, an interesting Gordon Gould fact. Finally, in 1977, he was granted the first of four laser patents by the US authority.
5. He became a teacher
From 1967, Gould started teaching at the Polytechnic Institute of New York and continued this job till 1973. During this duration, he also remained engaged in legal battles for patent filing. Later in 1973, he established his own company, Optelecom, which dealt in optical communications. He served in this company till 1985.
During his early years at Optelecom, he, along with his lawyers, started to focus their attention on the optical amplifier. It is considered an essential and integral part of the laser. They worked hard, and this lead to award of the first patent to Gould. Subsequently, in the coming years, he was also awarded patents for other allied technologies.
Gould fought the legal battle for over 30-long years, and this legal battle is believed to be a famous battle of patent history. In total, Gordon Gould was awarded 48 patents, including the critical patents related to applications patent, collisional pumping, and optical pumping. Ruby laser, invented later, used the optical pumping technology.
6. He coined the name Laser
Gordon Gould coined the name laser for his invention. The laser is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The concept of stimulated emission is the foundation behind the working of lasers, and Albert Einstein discussed it in the year 1917.
It is believed that Gould also invented the Ruby Laser in 1960. According to historians, Theodore Maiman was the first inventor to demonstrate ruby laser. Meanwhile, some of them consider Gould as the inventor of Ruby laser. So, the founder to invent Ruby laser is controversial.
7. Gould was elected to Hall of Fame
An interesting fact about Gordon Gould is that he was selected to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the year 1991 despite the fact that he remained engaged in legal battles for around thirty years to prove himself as the actual inventor of the laser.
8. He died a natural death
Gould died on September 16, 2005, of natural causes. He was 85 years old at the time of his death. Once again, his death sparked intense debate within scientific circles about him, whether he was the real and actual inventor of the laser. During his entire life, he idolized Thomas Edison.
Very little is known about his personal life. His first wife was Glen Fulwider, who was a member of the Marxist group. The couple separated in the year 1953, and during 1955, Gould married for the second time with Ruth Hill. They two separated, and the inventor married for the third time with the lady named Marilyn Appel.
Some of our readers might not have been familiar with these facts and information about this inventor. He played a vital role in the early research of laser, and the researchers, after him, used his research and experience to refine and upgrade the invention in line with the modern needs. He is still remembered for his 30-year hard work to get his patents registered, which later made him a rich man.
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