The Laser, fifty years after its invention

In 2010 the physics community is marking the 50-year birthday of laser, the invention which revolutionized many fields of experimental physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and engineering. This invention gave life to new areas of science, quantum electronics, quantum optics, nonlinear optics, biophotonics, femtochemistry to mention just few. Since 1960, 18 scientists have been awarded the Nobel prize for research fields directly related to or enabled by the laser technology. Laser technology is also evolving rapidly and continuously opening up new applications areas. This rapid progress will be overviewed in the talk and some tentative glimpses into the future will be presented.