Prof. Charles Townes has passed away.

We were saddened to learn that colleague Professor Charles Townes died this morning, January 27th, at the age of 99. A professor at UC Berkeley since 1967, Townes had a long and distinguished career, winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 for work that led to the development of the laser. He was active in research as recently as last year, making regular visits to his office at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, and to Mount Wilson Observatory where he worked to develop the Infrared Spatial Interferometer telescope. His broad research interests included the search for extraterrestrial intelligence - as co-author of a 1961 paper, he was one of the first to discuss interstellar communication using lasers. This gave rise to the rapidly growing field of optical SETI, including searches currently underway at UC Berkeley. Prof. Townes also served as an Advisory Board Member to the new Foundation for Investing in Research on SETI Science and Technology. We will miss him here at UC Berkeley, and send our condolences to his wife Frances and family.

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