Charles Townes: I listened very carefully to the reasoning that other people had of why it wouldn’t work. And some of them had theoretical reasons why they believed it wouldn’t work. Others practical reasons. I listened very carefully to that. And I looked at those reasons very carefully, and I convinced myself that, no, they had not really understood it fully. That I thought they were wrong. But I examined it very carefully. I kept examining myself and my own ideas, of course. Now some people agreed with me. But not a large number, and as I say, no one thought it was exciting enough to try to do it themselves. I had no competition at all. Interestingly, when the laser came along, and when I started talking about the laser, then everybody jumped in, and everybody wanted to do it. With the maser, it was really too new and different, and people didn’t quite see the future of it. And after the maser was working, then it became the property of the field, the maser did. It became quite popular for a while. And then when Schawlow and I — Arthur Schawlow and I — wrote a paper about the laser, then that was exceedingly popular and everybody jumped in to try to make a laser. That was a very different kind of environment. But the really first ideas were not seized on by other people at all, and that’s where the scientist has to be ready to be alone a bit.