Google’s laser beam
Forty-eight years ago last Friday, Theodore Maiman demonstrated the first laser at the Hughes Research Laboratory in California. We could have written a blog post about that. Turns out we didn’t have to. Last Friday Google had a special logo to mark the anniversary. A click on the logo executed a web search for “first laser” and the first search result was a book excerpt we created five years ago for A Century of Nature: Twenty-One Discoveries that Changed Science and the World.
The ensuing traffic was incredible. Our website had almost half a million visitors last Friday, more than 25 times the traffic of the previous Friday. The uptick in traffic actually began about 6pm CDT on Thursday, as the clock turned to Friday in the Far East, and continued into the first few hours of Saturday. A “Google day” appears to last about 44 hours.
Numbers like this are, of course, a testament to the worldwide reach and popularity of Google. They also testify to the boundless extent of human curiosity.