1960 – Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes receive the first patent for a laser
In 1953, Charles Hard Townes and graduate students James P. Gordon and Herbert J. Zeiger produced the first microwave amplifier, a device operating on similar principles to the laser, but amplifying microwave radiation rather than infrared or visible radiation. Townes’s maser was incapable of continuous output. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union, Nikolay Basov and Aleksandr Prokhorov were independently working on the quantum oscillator and solved the problem of continuous-output systems by using more than two energy levels. These gain media could release stimulated emissions between an excited state and a lower excited state, not the ground state, facilitating the maintenance of a population inversion. In 1955, Prokhorov and Basov suggested optical pumping of a multi-level system as a method for obtaining the population inversion, later a main method of laser pumping.
Townes reports that several eminent physicists—among them Niels Bohr, John von Neumann, Isidor Rabi, Polykarp Kusch, and Llewellyn Thomas—argued the maser violated Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and hence could not work. In 1964 Charles H. Townes, Nikolay Basov, and Aleksandr Prokhorov shared the Nobel Prize in Physics, “for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser–laser principle”.
1972 – The United States Congress sends the Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for women. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman. In 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time. The ERA has always been highly controversial regarding the meaning of equality for women. It was “feminist against feminist,” says historian Judith Sealander; the result was the eventual defeat of the ERA. Middle-class women generally were supportive. Those speaking for the working class were strongly opposed, arguing that employed women needed special protections regarding working conditions and hours. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress and was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification. It seemed headed for quick approval until Phyllis Schlafly mobilized conservative women in opposition, arguing that the ERA would disadvantage housewives.
Congress had set a ratification deadline of March 22, 1979. Through 1977, the amendment received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications. Five states later rescinded their ratifications before the 1979 deadline. In 1978, a joint resolution of Congress extended the ratification deadline to June 30, 1982, but no further states ratified the amendment and it died. Several organizations continue to work for the adoption of the ERA.
1993 – The Intel Corporation ships the first Pentium chips (80586), featuring a 60 MHz clock speed, 100+ MIPS, and a 64 bit data path.
The original Pentium branded CPUs were expected to be named 586 or i586, to follow the naming convention of previous generations (286, i386, i486). However, as the company wanted to prevent their competitors from branding their processors with similar names (as AMD had done with their Am486), Intel attempted to file a trademark on the name in the United States, only to be denied because a series of numbers was not considered distinct.
Following Intel’s previous series of 8086, 80186, 80286, 80386, and 80486 microprocessors, the company’s first P5-based microprocessor was released as the original Intel Pentium on March 22, 1993. Marketing firm Lexicon Branding was hired to coin a name for the new processor. The suffix -ium was chosen as it could connote a fundamental ingredient of a computer, like a chemical element, while the prefix pent- could refer to the fifth generation of x86.
2011 – OSHW Logo Public VOTE!
IT’S TIME TO CAST YOUR VOTE! On February 10th, 2011, we launched the Open Hardware Definition v1.0, and launched a competition to select an OSHW Logo. Over 129 submissions have come in over 2 weeks, and a very active discussion on the forums.
The U.S. Senate today approved 73-26 an amended version of legislation that will legalize “crowdfunding,” or equity investments in start-ups by the general public. The CROWDFUND Act adds requirements to the House of Representative’s JOBS Act that companies use SEC-approved crowdfunding platforms that provide investor protections.
Limor Fried is one of the world’s best-known “Makers.” She has created one of the largest collections of free electronics tutorials, open-source hardware and software in the world. And she founded Adafruit Industries to create products for makers of all ages & skill levels.
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