Invented at Bell Labs by Arthur L. Schawlow, then a Bell Labs researcher, and Charles H. Townes, a consultant to the Labs, the LASER, originally standing for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, but now a word all by itself in the dictionary, was at first developed to extend the distance that radar could be useful.
A laser is a device that creates and amplifies a narrow, intense beam of coherent light. Coherent means that the light beams are of the same frequency and power, as opposed to the massively incoherent nature of sunlight or an incandescent bulb. There's power in a laser: from burning things (like a CD-R or the lens of your eye) to replacing copper wire (it's laser in all those fiber optic lines), lasers have revolutionized almost everything we touch in tech.
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