Presenter: rufus Cone
Date: Monday, oct. 20
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (note special time)
Location: Msu ePs Building, room 108

laser laser experiment lighLasers are unique sources of light with applications varying from simple pointers, to cutting sheet steel and welding cars, to measurements of the earth-moon distance with centimeter accuracy and the consequent plotting of the motion of the earth’s continents, to measurements of the fastest events under human control, and even to triggering nuclear fusion. This side trip on “lasers and Their Applications” will start from simple physical pictures to develop an intuitive grasp of important principles and features of lasers. Demonstrations will illustrate concepts and provide connections
to the experimental and practical world. A few key applications will be described ranging from medicine to technology. The Bozeman optics
industry, which has perhaps the greatest per capita density of its type in the entire u.s., with more than 30 companies and hundreds of employees, will be surveyed, illustrating an important impact that Msu has on the local economy.


Rufus Cone, honored as a Fellow of the American Physical Society for contributions to rare earth material physics, received his Ph.D. from Yale University and his B.S. from Georgia Tech. A Distinguished Professor of Letters and Science at Montana State University, he is a co-founder of MSU Spectrum Lab and has been active on the faculty since 1974. Cone’s group has developed optical materials relevant to the Bozeman optical industries and to frontier areas like quantum communications. They have frequency-stabilized lasers to ultranarrow spectra in Bozeman-grown materials to precisions of a part in 1014 over milliseconds – an application now being used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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Kathryn Earley 2When my husband and I were looking for our place to retire, one of the places we visited was Bozeman.  While we were here we went to the library, where I happened to pick up a Wonderlust brochure.  Here was university-quality instruction by experts in a huge number of subjects.  No homework, no exams, no papers, just a chance to learn new things or review things we’d already studied.  It was also an opportunity to meet people with a wide variety of interests.  I was hooked! Over the past several years, I’ve come to feel strongly about supporting this valuable community resource for lifelong learning, and fortunately there’s a community of dedicated volunteers who feel the same way.

This past year was our first as Friends of MSU Wonderlust, whose mission is to support and promote MSU Wonderlust.  We’ve contributed funds to getting a new projector at Hope Lutheran Church, where many of our classes are held, and to Gallatin Community Radio, which broadcasts many of our Friday Forums.  We’re also sponsors of and taking part in Active Aging Week and the Prime Age 50+ Expo.

In January Friends will sponsor the MSU Wonderlust reception.  Join us at the Country Bookshelf on January 9, 5 pm – 7 pm, where you can meet instructors and other people interested in learning.  

Kathryn Earley, President of Friends of Wonderlust