Lasers are celebrating their half century. May 16th sees the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser (not to be confused with the maser which was developed earlier). It has been involved with at least 6 Nobel Prizes. Check out this website for lots of info on the laser. Our lives would be so much the poorer without it. It's not just surveying (which as you'd expect I have a vested interest in) but everything included CDs, barcode scanners, fibre optics and the lot.
Mind you, now I've mentioned laser and surveying, check out the Nottingham Caves.