Musings on optics, physics, astronomy, technology and life

It’s a rare day, indeed. Happy Leap Year day, everyone!

I can’t write much today because I’m in the middle of writing another article for Optics & Photonics News (deadline: tomorrow). In the course of looking up other materials for that story, however, I stumbled upon ebook versions of oral history transcripts that I used for my May 2011 biographical article on Arthur L. Schawlow.

The Internet Archive provides free copies of the oral histories from both Schawlow and his brother-in-law, Charles H. Townes. I had found them on the Web initially, but now they can be downloaded in any number of electronic-reader formats: PDF, EPUB, Kindle and others. Go to and click on “Texts,” then search for the word “Schawlow.”

I never would have been able to write that article if Schawlow hadn’t done those oral history interviews while he was still alive. Reading the transcript was the next best thing to interviewing him personally. Kudos to the California Digital Library for getting this material in a more portable format.


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