1960s Technology and Important Days

Learn about the 1960s Tech Advancements and Moments

The Laser was born

In 1960s Charles H Townes invented the laser. The laser is a pure, concentrated, powerful source of light. Lasers were used for development of the Q-switch (similar to a camera shutter) allowed laser energy to be emitted in controlled pulses.Early laser-like devices (see photoepilators) selectively targeted individual follicles by delivering energy through a wire-thin fiberoptic probe (and later through a penlight-type device). This device was rushed to market without adequate testing of effectiveness. It was marketed illegally as painless and permanent until FDA stepped in. These devices turned out to be tedious to use, logistically difficult to maintain the probes, and ineffective for permanent hair removal.

Plate Tectonics

Alfred Wegener created a theory of continental drift or plate tectonics. This theory describes how giant, curved plates of rock carry the major land masses around the globe. Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core. The plates act like a hard and rigid shell compared to Earth's mantle. This strong outer layer is called the lithosphere.

The Space Race

The 1960’s will be remembered as the space race because United States and the Soviet Union competed against each other for space firsts such as put a person into orbit around the earth, to launch more and better satellites, to build space stations, to send probes to distant planets and the greatest achievement of all to land astronauts on the moon. By landing on the moon, the United States effectively “won” the space race that had begun with Sputnik’s launch in 1957. For their part, the Soviets made four failed attempts to launch a lunar landing craft between 1969 and 1972, including a spectacular launch-pad explosion in July 1969. From beginning to end, the American public’s attention was captivated by the space race, and the various developments by the Soviet and U.S. space programs were heavily covered in the national media. This frenzy of interest was further encouraged by the new medium of television. Astronauts came to be seen as the ultimate American heroes, and earth-bound men and women seemed to enjoy living vicariously through them. Soviets, in turn, were pictured as the ultimate villains, with their massive, relentless efforts to surpass America and prove the power of the communist system.

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UFO Fever!

Everybody thought they saw a UFO this was called the UFO fever. Regular radio blips from pulsars fueled ideas of aliens in space. Might they visit Earth? Many UFOs were photographed, and “UFO fever” gripped the world. Although some were hoaxes many were natural weather effects like ball lightning and some were secret military aircrafts being tested. The military even admitted to causing the UFO Fever during the 1950-1960s.

The Cold War

The Cold War was a tense standoff: the capitalist United States and its allied Western nations versus the communist USSR and its Eastern European allies. The success of the first piloted space flight boosted the USSR’s scientific reputation and its political system, led by Nikita Khrushchev. During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union fought together as allies against the Axis powers. However, the relationship between the two nations was a tense one. Americans had long been wary of Soviet communism and concerned about Russian leader Joseph Stalin’s tyrannical, blood-thirsty rule of his own country. For their part, the Soviets resented the Americans’ decades-long refusal to treat the USSR as a legitimate part of the international community as well as their delayed entry into World War II, which resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of Russians. After the war ended, these grievances ripened into an overwhelming sense of mutual distrust and enmity. Postwar Soviet expansionism in Eastern Europe fueled many Americans’ fears of a Russian plan to control the world. Meanwhile, the USSR came to resent what they perceived as American officials’ bellicose rhetoric, arms buildup and interventionist approach to international relations. In such a hostile atmosphere, no single party was entirely to blame for the Cold War; in fact, some historians believe it was inevitable.

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The Moon Landing

The moon landing was the climax of 10 years of amazing technological advances in almost all areas of science. Early, unpiloted Apollo space shots tested the vehicles and equipment and finally July 16th, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the trip. On July 20, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon. He said the historic words, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." To walk on the moon's surface, the astronauts needed to wear a space suit with a back mounted, portable life support system. This controlled the oxygen, temperature and pressure inside the suit. A year later Apollo 13 launched and they safley launched on April 11, 1970 at 1:13. While going to the moon the oxygen tank exploded 2 days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

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