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The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
Broadly speaking, there are two contrasting attitudes towards common sense prevalent in ancient Greek philosophy. On the one hand, there is a dismissive attitude: common sense, understood as what people in general routinely think, is regarded as simply misguided and out of touch with the way things really are. On the other hand, there is a tendency to regard human beings as such as having cognitive capacities that can afford them correct insights – if only they will let these capacities operate as they could or should, without being distracted or misled by various factors that throw them off course. Although these two attitudes are in a clear tension with one another, we frequently find them together in the same philosophers. Indeed, it is not too much to say that we find both strands present, to varying degrees, almost throughout the history of Greek philosophy. This chapter pursues these themes chronologically, touching on several Presocratic thinkers, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Epicureans, and the Pyrrhonian sceptic Sextus Empiricus. Of these, Aristotle is the most sympathetic to common sense, and the Presocratics perhaps the most dismissive, with the others somewhere between these extremes.