Happy 54th Birthday, Laser Beams

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In this article: Laser, Lasers, Lazer, Pop Culture
Happy 54th Birthday, Laser Beams

We imagine that on May 16th, 1960, when the first laser was fired, no-one involved was particularly concerned with the invention's impact upon pop culture. After all, proving Albert Einstein's 1917 theory about amplifying light by the stimulated emission of radiation was probably seen as a bigger deal back then. In the decade that followed, the technology was used to verify the veracity of the moon landings, remove a tumor from someone's eye and threaten the survival of James Bond's "gentleman's area" for ever.

Gallery: Lasers in popular culture | 10 Photos

  • Laser, the American Gladiator
  • Phasers
  • Bond's Omega Seamaster
  • The aliens' main weapon
  • Lightsabers
  • The Lasers from Alien
  • Hank Scorpio's Bond-esque laser
  • Cyclops' laser eyes
  • GLaDOS' lasers
  • Super Furry Animals: Lazer Beam
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Nowadays, lasers are everywhere, from our optical mice and optical disc readers all the way through to industrial cutting machines, barcode scanners and on military vehicles. We decided, therefore, that to celebrate the 54th birthday of the simple, gentle laser, that we'd compile a few of our favorite moments from pop culture over the last half-century in tribute. And yes, if we miss your favorite, feel free to shout it out in the comments.

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