KUMAR PATEL, Vice Chancellor of research programs University of California, Los Angeles and President Sigma Xi- The Scientific Research Society, Research Triangle Park, NC

Kumar Patel has made the scientific study of lasers and quantum electronics his life's work. In 1963, he invented the carbon dioxide laser, which is still the highest-power laser in use today. That development fundamentally changed the field of quantum electronics and opened a new door to the study of other molecular gas lasers, infrared spectroscopy, and monolinear optics.

The greatest challenge currently facing scientists, Patel believes, is not in the laboratory but in the public policy arena. He feels the public is disillusioned with science and fails to understand its relevance to society. Unless the scientific community reaches out and builds bridges, he contents, funding for scientific research at current levels could be at serious risk.

Patel says: "THE SCIENTIST helps me frame science...

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