By Jeff Hecht
I first wrote approximately laser guns in 1976 in an editorial that used to be released within the October 1977 factor of Analog technology Fiction. the thing was once truth, yet a technological know-how fiction journal appeared a suitable position for it then. Now that the President of the us can speak about beam guns in lethal severe tones on nationwide tv, it kind of feels time for a extra severe glance. This e-book relies on my research of knowledge i have collected in years of writing approximately laser expertise. i have not had a safety clearance, and although that limits the data i've been in a position to receive, it implies that i will say issues that differently will be changed by means of [deleted]. i've been looking at the sector lengthy adequate to play "fill within the blanks" with censored executive files and to make moderate guesses of what some of the [deleted]s initially stated. There aren't any easy solutions right here, simply complicated technical and safeguard concerns that deserve cautious learn and which are vital to the way forward for our kingdom and the area. The safety matters raised within the latter 1/2 the publication could appear extra speedy to the overall reader, yet they're unavoidably relating to the technological history laid in Chapters 4-9. in the course of the ebook, i've got documented my assets up to attainable, whereas respecting the confidentiality of data given in private.
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Additional info for Beam Weapons: The Next Arms Race
L. Schawlow and C. H. Townes, "Infrared and Optical Masers," Physical Review 112, 1940 (1958). 14. The struggle over Gould's laser patents and credit for inventing the laser is a story as convoluted as that of any soap opera. For an account through mid-1981, see Jeff Hecht and Dick Teresi, Laser Supertool of the 1980s (Ticknor & Fields, New York and New Haven, 1982), pp. 49-61; for an update to mid-1982, see "Laser Patent Litigation Reaches Crescendo," Lasers & Applications 1(2), 22-24 (October 1982).
At the time military officials decided that the technology wasn't ready. The years that followed brought major advances in the technology. In 1958 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency decided that the time was finally ripe and started a program code-named "Seesaw" at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. The goal was to use beams of electrons as a ground-based defense of strategic areas against ballistic missile attack. '>33 Large accelerators, in short, cost a lot of money, an unpleasant fact of life that has lately helped slow the progress of research in subatomic physics.
The months that followed saw a few other reports of different types of lasers, and within a few years there was a veritable torrent of reports of new lasers. Reports in the general press heralded the laser as a dramatic breakthrough, with a wide range of potential applications. Some of the reports got a bit carried away. One that appeared in late 1962, titled "The Incredible Laser," told about prospects for building laser cannons. "17 Researchers working in the field were skeptical because the promise of high-power laser output remained elusive.