Lasers can do anything

Professor Hans Bachor of ANU was having a busman’s holiday at the Kioloa Coastal Campus of ANU, part of the Walk in a Scientist’s Shoes program. I was having a proper holiday … but when it’s January 4 and it’s a wet day at the beach, what better activity that to hear a talk on lasers?!

Hans took us through the history of the laser, starting with Max Planck and working through the use of lasers for military, industrial and other uses into the 21st century. He had a variety of demonstrations to keep the younger members of the audience on their toes, including a photon detector, balloon-popping using the power of a laser, a neon tube, and laser glasses such as are handed out for New Years Eve fireworks. He also informed us all that laser is an acronym, that was originally loser … But that was never going to fly, was it?!

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