Charles H. Townes

1915 - 2015

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Charles Hard Townes (July 28, 1915 – January 27, 2015) was an American physicist. Townes worked on the theory and application of the maser, for which he obtained the fundamental patent, and other work in quantum electronics associated with both maser and laser devices. He shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nikolay Basov and Alexander Prokhorov. Townes was an adviser to the United States Government, meeting every US president from Harry S. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Charles H. Townes has received more than 384,081 page views. His biography is available in 74 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 70 in 2019). Charles H. Townes is the 187th most popular physicist (down from 178th in 2019), the 674th most popular biography from United States (up from 799th in 2019) and the 26th most popular American Physicist.

Charles H. Townes is most famous for his invention of the laser in 1958. He shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nikolay Basov and Alexander Prokhorov for his work on the maser.

Memorability Metrics

  • 380k

    Page Views (PV)

  • 64.84

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 74

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 10.86

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 4.31

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)


Among physicists, Charles H. Townes ranks 187 out of 851Before him are James Rainwater, Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov, Igor Tamm, Martinus J. G. Veltman, Josiah Willard Gibbs, and Klaus von Klitzing. After him are David Bohm, Gustav Ludwig Hertz, Wolfgang Paul, Benjamin Thompson, Robert H. Goddard, and Nikolay Basov.

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Among people born in 1915, Charles H. Townes ranks 26Before him are Jerome Bruner, Aung San, Sviatoslav Richter, Fred Hoyle, Saul Bellow, and Curd Jürgens. After him are Les Paul, Robert Hofstadter, Clifford Shull, Norman Foster Ramsey Jr., Aziz Nesin, and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Among people deceased in 2015, Charles H. Townes ranks 30Before him are Lemmy, Yitzhak Navon, Tariq Aziz, Otto Carius, Kenan Evren, and Irwin Rose. After him are Zito, Eduardo Galeano, Maya Plisetskaya, Manoel de Oliveira, Oliver Sacks, and Douglass North.

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In United States

Among people born in United States, Charles H. Townes ranks 674 out of 20,380Before him are Harper Lee (1926), Irwin Rose (1926), Black Dahlia (1924), Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839), Michael Mann (1943), and Donald Knuth (1938). After him are Ursula K. Le Guin (1929), Frances Farmer (1913), Washington Irving (1783), Linda B. Buck (1947), Nancy Pelosi (1940), and John Browning (1855).

Among PHYSICISTS In United States

Among physicists born in United States, Charles H. Townes ranks 26Before him are Melvin Schwartz (1932), George E. Smith (1930), Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921), Martin Lewis Perl (1927), James Rainwater (1917), and Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839). After him are David Bohm (1992), Benjamin Thompson (1753), Robert H. Goddard (1882), Douglas Osheroff (1945), Edward Mills Purcell (1912), and Steven Weinberg (1933).