HRL Laboratories Celebrates 60th Anniversary of First Laser

The first laser. © 2020 HRL Laboratories.

Famous Malibu Laboratory Commemorates Former Researcher’s Historical Milestone Along With Its Own 60th Birthday

Theodore Maiman with the first laser circa 1960. © 2020 HRL Laboratories.

May 16, 1960, a researcher for Hughes Aircraft Corporation named Theodore Maiman activated the world’s first laser at the company’s brand new research facility in Malibu, California. Sixty years later, the re-branded HRL Laboratories, LLC still thrives as a top-tier independent research and development company. HRL will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Maiman’s laser on May 16, 2020, 60 years and a few months after the opening of the Malibu site.

Maiman’s successful experiment created an entirely new capability that has had an enormous impact on commerce, national security, and research in nearly every field of science. The word “laser” is now a household term and the technology is used in super accurate range finders, bar code readers, engraving tools, cutting and welding tools, communications systems, and myriad other applications integral to our world.

HRL Laboratories has changed over six decades, but has consistently achieved renowned scientific and engineering breakthroughs in Malibu since Maiman’s singular achievement. Now owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors, HRL thrives in its mission to give competitive advantage to its owners and customers.

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HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California ( is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and materials, information and systems sciences, applied electromagnetics, and microelectronics. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.

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