Science: A Dream Deferred

A Dream Deferred

Peter Hagelstein did not quite realize what he was getting into when, as a 20- year-old M.I.T. student, he began his association with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif. His dream was to advance biological and medical research by creating X-ray lasers. Instead, he found himself in what some have called a "bomb shop." In 1979 Hagelstein began working out the computer program that aided in the design of X-ray lasers -- the breakthrough that helped inspire Ronald Reagan to become the chief advocate for the Strategic Defense Initiative, or Star Wars.

Hagelstein, now 32, went on dreaming about...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!