JARS v37n1 - The Power of an Azalea

The Power of an Azalea
F.C. Galle, Pine Mountain, Georgia

I recently visited the traveling exhibit, Creativity - The Human Resource, produced by Standard Oil Company of California and its Chevron Companies. Dr. Charles Townes received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964, and I thought the story from the exhibit would be of interest.
In 1951, Charles Townes was seeking ways to produce electromagnetic waves less than one millimeter. Townes knew that atoms or molecules could produce such short wave lengths but he was not sure how to tap that energy.
One Sunday morning, Townes found the solution. He had an idea for an oculator which could stimulate the emission of energy from molecules.
"I awoke very early, possibly because of my frustration and concern over why we had not yet found any real solution to the production of such short waves. I slipped out of my hotel room before breakfast to sit on a bench among the azaleas in Franklin Park in Washington and there in the early spring morning enjoyed the freshness and beauty of those gay flowers, musing over why we had so far failed. The moment of insight was more vivid and complete than any other in my experience - suddenly I recognized the fallacy in my previous thinking and that of others. A three minute calculating on the back of an envelope showed that such a system could be built." Charles Townes.
Let's all stop and sit under our azaleas to rest and plan for a better garden.