Gordon Gould — American Physicist born on July 17, 1920, died on September 16, 2005

Gordon Gould was an American physicist who is widely, but not universally, credited with the invention of the laser.. Gould is best known for his thirty-year fight with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to obtain patents for the laser and related technologies. He also fought with laser manufacturers in court battles to enforce the patents he subsequently did obtain... (wikipedia)

Just think, if I had understood my lawyer and if he and I had communicated properly in January 1958, this whole history would have been entirely different .
The real technical problems came because people working on the project didn't really follow my proposal at all, but set out to do other things instead of making a laser.
But certainly the laser proved to be what I realized it was going to be. At that moment in my life I was too ignorant in business law to be able to do it right, and if I did it over again probably the same damn thing would happen.
That attitude does not exist so much today, but in those days there was a very sharp distinction between basic physics and applied physics. Columbia did not deal with applied physics.
There was a second problem that was still not a technical problem... the project became classified. I couldn't work on it after having gone to all that trouble. I was considered a security risk, so I could not get a clearance.

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