Voting has closed on the Laser Smackdown poll, with 772 people recording their opinion on the most amazing of the many things that have been done with lasers in the fifty years since the invention of the first working laser (see the Laserfest web site for more on the history and applications of lasers). The candidates in the traditional suspense-building reverse order:
- Lunar laser ranging 22 votes
- Cat toy/ dog toy/ laser light show 41 votes
- Laser guide stars/ adaptive optics 46 votes
- Holography 47 votes
- Laser eye surgery 53 votes
- Optical storage media (CD/DVD/Blu-Ray) 60 votes
- Laser frequency comb/ spectroscopy 65 votes
- LIGO 68 votes
- Optical tweezers 74 votes
- Telecommunications 91 votes
- Laser ignited fusion 95 votes
That means that the winner, and The Most amazing Laser Application of All Time is:
- Laser cooling/ BEC 110 votes
And there you have it. The people have spoken, and it doesn't get any more amazing than laser cooling, which is hereby awarded bragging rights over all other fields of laser-related physics.
Thanks to everyone who voted. And even if you missed your chance to vote, I hope you'll take a little time to look over the posts explaining the various applications, and appreciate the many amazing things being done with lasers today.
and now they are making rain clouds with laser:
Weird outcome, likely has more to do with the fact that Chad does ultracold physics then with anything else (people here are not representative).
By far the most amazing application is telecom, without it there would be no internet as we know it and no poll, second is optical storage, the impact of those two technologies is hard to overestimate.
Telecom did lead the poll for a long time though the results changed significantly near the end (link ended up somewhere?).
BEC/cooling is nice but still a fringe application with more hype then useful results.
Oh. You wanted aMAZing. I read aMUSing, which is why I voted for "cat toy". Lula holding a claw somewhere tender had NO effect on my vote.