Letter to the Editor

Alesandr Prokhorov, Queensland’s first of two Nobel Prize winners, begins to emerge from his obscurity due to much research and he begins to take a more prominent place in Queensland’s history.

This is the Centenary of his birth in Peeramon, he began his thirst for knowledge at Butchers Creek School with his three sisters. His wife has remarked that all his life he said his destiny was shaped by his first seven years in Australia. His eldest sister Clara died from pneumonia in Herberton in 1921 and is buried there, Shaaron Lindwood has discovered Clara’s grave well done Shaaron. After my first letter was published, I had a phone call to tell me that CSIRO in Atherton had a plaque for Aleksandr in the garden, I look forward to seeing it soon. Friends hope to go to Moscow later this year, and will take photos of Clara’s grave to give to the Russian authorities and hopefully take a few photos of Aleksandr’s grave. Aleksandr, who died in 2002, is in very good company surrounded by all the famous Russians, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and Khrushchev.

Aleksandr has to shoulder a lot of the praise for the discovery of masers and lasers together with his Nobel Laureates. What goes around comes around so they say. The laser was a fantastic invention made by a brilliant scientist born in Peeramon up here in the mountains behind Cairns. Millions of people the world over who were blind can now see because of laser surgery. Lasers are used in dentistry, by teachers, in CDs. and supermarkets around the world as the laser scans the goods, beep beep! And interspace communication, needs lasers and the most important of all the Atomic Clock which keeps the world’s time – that needs lasers.

The world of the 20th Century was generally one of war and devastation and the scientists who were working on masers and lasers were like a

‘grassy pocket in the dry scrub’ which is the translation of ‘Peeramon’ in the Aboriginal Language.

The last word is with Alesandr who was renowned for his cluttered desk and dislike of computers: ‘Please turn the computer off – it stops me from thinking’.

I.P. Shanks

Mareeba, 4880