This year marks not only the beginning of a new decade, but also the 50th anniversary of the creation of the laser. Though we tend to take them for granted, lasers have revolutionized the way we live. They allow us to surf the web, watch movies on DVD, and scan barcodes at the grocery store; they also enable eye surgery, study the planet, target weapons, and facilitate worldwide communication.

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You may know him as the host of PBS's Design Squad, or for his guest appearances on programs like Mythbusters. These days Nate Ball is an engineer on the go, whether he's creating useful gadgets or teaching himself to do a back flip off a wall.

© 2010 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

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