John Polanyi began his studies in the dynamics of chemical reactions at the National Research Council in Ottawa, but moved to the Chemistry Department at the University of Toronto in 1956. There he continued studying what goes on when molecules combine in reactions. He and his graduate student, Ken Cashion, developed a reaction chamber with which they could control the reactions and thereby study the tiny amount of energy released (called chemiluminescence) using an infrared spectrometer. Analyzing these light emission patterns let them see exactly how atoms combine. Their discoveries eventually led to the development of the chemical lasers, which have high power and thus a wide variety of applications. It also led Polanyi to a Nobel prize in chemistry in 1986.