Laser pioneers, Nobel Laureates, and other laser luminaries were honoured at a reception on 12 February in Washington, DC. The celebration was part of LaserFest, the 2010 celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first demonstration of a working laser, and was co-hosted by the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution. US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu spoke during a programme that included a video tribute of pioneers telling the story of the development of the laser.
The organisers of the LaserFest celebration aimed to emphasise the laser's impact throughout history and highlight its potential for the future. Through a series of events and programmes, LaserFest showcases the prominence of the laser in today's world. Founding Partners are the American Physical Society (APS), the Optical Society (OSA), SPIE, and the IEEE Photonics Society.