“[A] Fascinating True Story.”
In 1957, Gordon Gould, an obscure physicist and Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, created one the most revolutionary inventions of the twentieth century: Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation—the LASER, a machine that would eventually change modern medicine, industry, communications, and the military. But before Gould could patent his invention, Charles Townes, a prominent professor of physics and acquaintance of Gould’s, would file his own patent, and claim the LASER as his own invention. For Gould, a man already compromised by his past associations with Communism, it was the start of thirty-year battle for recognition that would challenge everything he believed in about loyalty and the law.
Written with Gould’s full co-operation, this is the myth-shattering account of one of the most dramatic, untold stories of an era—a behind-the scenes look at an ordinary man overshadowed by scientific rivalry, overwhelmed by courtroom machinations and academic jealousy, and victimized once again by the political intrigue of the McCarthy era, ultimately putting the very integrity of science on trial.
“Taylor does a great job of pulling together science, law, business, and human drama. There’s a great surprise ending, too, even for those already
aware of the outcome.” —Wired
“In a grand story of laser history and patent law, this riveting account…portrays the long battle of a lone inventor to reclaim his creation against the inappropriate influences of corporations and a Nobel Prize winner on the patent process.”