A hologram of the first laser, invented in 1960 by former SFU adjunct professor Theodore Maiman.

Moon-measurer, laser inventor celebrated for Apollo 11 contributions

July 16, 2019

When NASA scientists wanted to measure the distance from Earth to the moon for the first time, they shone a high-powered laser off of a reflecting disk placed on the moon by the astronauts during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. The laser they used — from its position on earth — was co-designed by Theodore (Ted) Maiman, inventor of the first laser in 1960 and a former adjunct professor in SFU’s School of Engineering Science.

As scientists and citizens commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing this year, the impact of the laser’s invention knows no bounds.