Ever wonder how the stimulation of a carbon dioxide or neodymium-aluminum-garnet lasing material with either electrical discharges or radio frequency resonators can be used to facilitate industrial cutting or surface finishing processes? If you’re anything like me, your answer is probably an emphatic “Huh?” There’s something about lasers and their operating principles that seem opaque and distant to me. I’d bet that most people I know are aware that “laser” is an acronym, but I doubt that many of them know what it stands for, and even fewer of them could describe how lasers work. The trouble may be that lasers don’t enjoy very accurate representation in media, or it may be that our encounters with lasers in daily life are not very personal or direct. But it’s clear that we benefit from their use in many ways.