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...

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