Theodore H. “Ted” Maiman developed the first ruby laser at Hughes Research Laboratories, located in the city of Malibu, California. The famous Howard Hughes owned this research center. He was a billionaire and an eccentric aviator. The film Aviator (with Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes) is based on a book about his life.
The leader of the project was the physicist Theodore Maiman (twice nominated for the Nobel Prize). The laser’s base was a crystal ruby; it wasn`t a natural ruby stone, but synthetically-made crystal. The laser emitted a red beam of light at a wavelength of 694 nanometers. It could only be used in a pulsed mode.