Other Notable Deaths

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

May 12, 2007

THEODORE H. MAIMAN, 79 Built first laser

Theodore H. Maiman, a physicist who built the first working laser in the United States and advocated its use in medical applications, died Sunday at a Vancouver, British Columbia, hospital of a rare genetic disorder called systemic mastocytosis, said his wife, Kathleen.

Mr. Maiman made his laser discovery in 1960, while working for Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, Calif., using a high-power flash lamp and a synthetic ruby crystal. He described his approach as "ridiculously simple," despite worldwide competition to be the first to develop a working laser.

Earlier in 1960, two other scientists were the first to register patents for an optical "maser," but there was no functioning device to support the paper patent. Then Gordon Gould, working for a defense researcher, filed competing patent claims and coined the word "laser" as an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation."

Mr. Maiman is widely credited in encyclopedias and the National Inventors Hall of Fame with being the first to create a working laser.

He worked for nearly the past eight years as an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, helping design the curriculum for a new biophotonics engineering program.

GINO PARIANI, 79 U.S. soccer player

Gino Pariani, who played for the United States on the 1950 soccer team that produced one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, died Wednesday night after having bone cancer for two years, his family said.

Mr. Pariani, the son of Italian immigrants, grew up playing soccer in St. Louis' famed Italian neighborhood, "The Hill," and was part of the mostly amateur team that jolted the soccer world with its 1-0 defeat of powerful England in Brazil.

The story of the 1950 squad was told in the 2005 film The Game of Their Lives.

A few days after he married, Mr. Pariani boarded a plane for Brazil with his St. Louis teammates. The Americans won on a header by Joe Gaetjens in the 37th minute.

The English team featured the likes of Alf Ramsey, who would go on to become England's 1966 World Cup-winning coach, and Tom Finney.

Mr. Pariani, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, also played on the U.S. Olympic team in 1948.

DWIGHT WILSON, 106 World War I veteran

Dwight Wilson, one of the last two Canadian veterans of World War I, has died. Officials said Wilson's death Wednesday in Toronto leaves one known surviving Canadian veteran of the war -- 106-year-old John Babcock of Spokane, Wash.

Born Feb. 26, 1901, in Vienna, Ontario, Mr. Wilson enlisted in 1916 at the age of 15 after telling the army he was older. He was taken from the front lines after his age was discovered.

He managed to re-enlist in 1917, but four months later he was discharged again because of his age.

Mr. Wilson was one of more than 600,000 Canadians who fought in World War I. About 66,000 died.

"As a nation, we honor his service and mourn his passing," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

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