It's the 50th anniversary of the laser, and since then, it's been used in most of the common devices you find together. So here's a write up on the first laser ever created, and how the paper was rejected for publication because it was too similar to a previous paper that the creator, Thomas Maiman, had published.
uchicago.edu - When the first working laser was reported in 1960, it was described as "a solution looking for a problem." But before long the laser's distinctive qualities—its ability to generate an intense, very narrow beam of light of a single wavelength—were being harnessed for science, technology and medicine. Today, lasers are everywhere: from research laboratories at the cutting edge of quantum physics to medical clinics, supermarket checkouts and the telephone network.
Full article here.
p.s. Pew pew pew!