Laser Prizes

60 years of lasers and 20 years of Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis

On May 16, 1960, Maiman generated the first beam of laser light - Review on Prizewinners of the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung - Award Ceremony postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic

60 years of lasers – a diamond anniversary. Diamond is a perfect symbol not only for the anniversary, one may say it is just as versatile and fascinating as the laser. But even more impressive was the symbol for the 40th anniversary at the turn of the millennium: Ruby, which was the active medium that Theodore Maiman successfully used to generate the very first beam of laser light on May 16, 1960. This date marks a technological breakthrough of a development that began in 1951 with Charles H. Townes’ idea for the Maser, the microwave precursor of the laser. The physical principle of stimulated emission of radiation has been known since 1917 with the publishing of Albert Einstein’s paper On the Quantum Theory of Radiation.

Anniversaries are moments on a timeline, occasions that let you pause for a moment, to draw attention to a specific subject. The foundation Berthold Leibinger Stiftung has the goal of promoting laser technology since 2000 with the innovation prize Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis and the research award Berthold Leibinger Zukunftspreis.

Engineers, developers and scientists shall receive recognition and honor for exceptional work on laser technology. This is expressed by the high prize money, the inspiring award ceremonies and above all the spectacular prizewinner alumni. We showcase their fascinating work and wish to give insights into the myriads of possibilities of this technology with interesting films. 

On the occasion of this special anniversary, we opened our rich treasure trove of 20 years of laser prizes and present some of the topics and people on our website. Highlights are a clip summary, new short trailer versions and a personal review by laser pioneer Orazio Svelto.

Award ceremony postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic

The pandemic is causing many restrictions worldwide on gatherings and travelling for an unknown period, the award ceremony cannot take place as planned on September 18, 2020. The event is postponed to the first half-year 2021.


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You can now download the press report 60 years of lasers and 20 years of Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis


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