Holography Beneath the Surface:
The Personal Interest Dimension

Introduction and Background


The history of holography has been documented in many articles and books. Because the field is young, still searching for its place in society, and still under development, historical accounts vary widely depending on the subculture from which they are reported. Developments take place in parallel subcultures, like art, science, and business, and it takes time for the knowledge to disseminate across cultural and geographical boundaries. Controversies arise especially when credits are announced and when two or more separated groups make what is arguably the same discovery. This is especially true of holography, since it was born during the cold war when developments on each side of the Iron Curtain were often kept secret or were not widely reported.

Writing a detailed history of holography at the present time is a risky endeavor because of the many different impressions of who did what first and how it fitted into the big picture. For that reason I have undertaken a hopefully more enjoyable, though still somewhat risky, endeavor of examining the personal side of the holography community. Holography history is sprinkled with bizarre, humorous, happy and sad events related mostly on a personal basis by the members of the first generations. Since many of these are not directly relevant to the technical field itself, they are likely to be lost and forgotten as the first generation of holographers passes on. Many of the tales are worthy of archiving, and this is an attempt to do so and thus preserve some of these. Like any field, holography also has its urban legends and fairy tales. An attempt is made to identify a few of these as well.

Every holographer has a funny tale regarding some amusing, strange, or even mystical experience, and I have heard enough of these to begin a logbook. I have had the good fortune to know many of the founders and creators of the field of holography giving me a first hand exposure to such stories. With any luck I can get the collection to grow as others agree to contribute.

Friends are quick to related such stories and much slower at writing them. After asking almost every holographer I know to submit such stories and having everyone assure me he would do so and then not, I have paraphrased, interpreted and possibly embellished these with my own perspectives, hopefully retaining something close to the truth. When possible I ran the final version before the subject/victim before presenting here, but not always. I apologize for any inaccuracies in my retelling the story

Holography beneath the Surface -The Personal Interest Dimension
James D. Trolinger
1 Introduction and Background
2 Holographic Portraiture
2.1 Early portrait holograms
2.1.1 Heflinger-in-a-Vice: Related by Ralph Wuerker
2.1.2 First holographic image of a nude on a magazine cover
2.1.3 Holograms of Playboy Playmates-JDT
2.1.4 The Reagan Portrait
2.1.5 Woman in a mirror-JDT
2.1.6 Picasso Derivative-Woman in a Mirror-JDT
3 Hologram of the Pope-Related by Craig Newswanger
4 Virtual Jewel Thieves-Related by Vladimir Markov
5 The Virtual Gun-Related by Vladimir Markov
6 The Cartier Jewel
6.1 More on Cartier hologram-Related by John Caulfield
7 Princess Margaret story-Related by John Webster
8 The various histories of holography-JDT.
9 Fellows of the SPIE-JDT
10 Yuri Denisyuk meets Harold Edgerton (a Holographic encounter)-JDT
11 The Buddha Hologram-Related by Joseph Shu
12 The UAH Center for Applied Optics-related by Hans Bjelkhagen
13 The T.J. Jeong five-minute lecture on holography-related by Emmett Leith
14 Hologram card detector-Anonymous
15 The Legacies of Denisyuk, Gabor, and Leith-JDT
16 Holography and Royalty-Related by Fred Unterseher
17 National Geographic holograms
17.1 First cover-The eagle-
17.2 The Second National Geographic Cover-
17.3 The Third National geographic hologram cover
18 “Welcome to Russia,” Professor Lohmann-Related by John Caulfield
19 The Little Laser that couldn't: Related by John Caulfield
20 Jumpei Tsujiuchi, the hologram thief-Related by John Caulfield
21 Misadventures with Denisyuk-Type Holograms-Various holographers
21.1 The University of Michigan Group--Related by Ken Haines
21.2 Jim Trolinger AEDC laboratory- JDT
22 Dali holograms-Related by Jean-Louis Trebillion
23 Parallelisms with Photography-JDT
24 A Dog Named Gabor-Related by Fred Way
25 A Career Looking at Small Particles with Holography-JDT
26 Number of holograms-JDT
27 Using a hologram like a window into a previous time-JDT
28 The first US Space Holocamera-JDT
29 Holography Adventures in Bogota, Columbia-JDT
29.1 Holographic Hostages
29.2 Holographic Terrorists?
29.3 Holographic Gold Thieves
30. Ken Haines and the Clean Stable Table
31. Bright Lasers and Dim Safety Officers

Introduction and Background

The history of holography has been documented in many articles and books. Because the field is young, still searching for its place in society, and still under development, historical accounts vary widely depending on the subculture from which they are reported. Developments take place in parallel subcultures, like art, science, and business, and it takes time for the knowledge to disseminate across cultural and geographical boundaries. Controversies arise especially when credits are announced and when two or more separated groups make what is arguably the same discovery. This is especially true of holography, since it was born during the cold war when developments on each side of the Iron Curtain were often kept secret or were not widely reported.

Writing a detailed history of holography is a risky endeavor because of the many different impressions of who did what first and how it fitted into the big picture. Such a history, published in 2010 by Sean Johnston, provides an excellent overview of some parts of the holographic community and severely slights other parts, especially the technical community. While the book provides an outstanding analysis of the beginnings when holography was in its infancy, he apparently discovered the art community and formulated the book it before realizing that there was a much broader technical community, which he treated almost as an adjunct to art.

I have undertaken a hopefully more enjoyable, though still somewhat risky, endeavor of examining the personal side of the holography community. Holography history is sprinkled with bizarre, humorous, happy and sad events related mostly on a personal basis by the members of the first generations. Since many of these are not directly relevant to the technical field itself, they are likely to be lost and forgotten as the first generation of holographers passes on. Many of the tales are worthy of archiving, and this is an attempt to do so and thus preserve some of these. Like any field, holography also has its urban legends and fairy tales. An attempt is made to identify a few of these as well.

Every holographer has a funny tale regarding some amusing, strange, or even mystical experience, and I have heard enough of these to begin a logbook. I have had the good fortune to know many of the founders and creators of the field of holography giving me a first hand exposure to such stories. With any luck I can get the collection to grow as others agree to contribute.

Friends are quick to related such stories and much slower at writing them. After asking almost every holographer I know to submit such stories and having everyone assure me he would do so and then not, I have paraphrased, interpreted and possibly embellished these with my own perspectives, hopefully retaining something close to the truth. When possible I ran the final version before the subject/victim before presenting here, but not always. I apologize for any inaccuracies in my retelling the story.

Holographic Portraiture

Early portrait holograms

Heflinger-in-a-Vice: Related by Ralph Wuerker

Some of the first holographic portraits were produced by scientists, who were not able to resist the temptation of playing with their equipment and having some fun with non scientific things. The first holograms in the mid 1960's were made with CW lasers requiring rigid objects on highly stable tables, with long recording times in which the subject had to remain absolutely stationary. Unlike the first photographs, where a subject’s movement simply blurred the image, the slightest movement would totally destroy a holographic image.

The first pulsed lasers were unsuitable for making good holograms. A few ingenious holographers were able to use a ruby laser in the late sixties to create good holograms, but the subject still needed to remain relatively stationary. Two such scientists were Drs Ralph Wuerker and Lee Heflinger whose team also included Robert Brooks, Sam Zivi, and Gordon Humberstone. In several instances holographic interferograms of Lee's face were produced by clamping his head in a vice to hold him stationary between exposures.

It would seem that publications containing photos of Lee in a vice were the first published photographs of a holographic human portrait.

First holographic image of a nude on a magazine cover

The TRW team was exploring potential applications of holography in medicine in the late sixties and early seventies. They demonstrated that double-pulsed hologram interferometry can detect anomalies in chest wall movements that may be caused by internal problems. This was demonstrated in double pulsed holographic interferograms of each other produced as they breathed. After Zivi and Humberstone submitted an article for publication in Medical Research Engineering the journal editor contacted one of the team and told him that if he would produce such an image of a woman, he would place it on the cover of the journal. One of the secretaries at TRW came forth and volunteered to be the subject, and she may go down in history as the first nude reconstructed image to appear on the cover of a magazine, the June 1970 issue. Her face is not visible, however, in the published pictures. Subsequently members of the group displayed this hologram in various talks and this was the first hologram of a nude ever seen by many of us in the field.

Holograms of Playboy Playmates-JDT

One of the first serious attempts at producing a hologram of a playmate was made by a not so artistic holographer, more interested in technical quality than in esthetics. From a technical perspective, the hologram is excellent; being very bright, noise free, wide angled, and high resolution. The poor playmate looks anything but sexy, being green in color, distorted, and with such resolution that every flaw in her body seems magnified. Her makeup was all wrong for ruby laser light with which the hologram was made. My first impression upon seeing it in a gallery was that the lady was rather ugly.

One would expect that Hugh Hefner, being a master connoisseur of women, would feel great excitement at what holography has to offer in the way of presentation of the female nude. Apparently, not so. According to second hand information passed on to me from someone who heard it from a playmate, Hugh Hefner was horrified and so incensed by the result that he has been turned off to the idea of holograms of playmates ever since. I hope someday to find out if this is really true.

Ron and Bernadette Olsen are the masters of playmate holography, having produced many large life sized holograms of playmates. They use a green YAG laser that gives skin a much softer and better color. They have managed to tune the color of their holograms so that it is closer to skin color. Especially with black people, a very pleasing skin color can be created in single color holograms. They introduced an artistic character into their work, paying more attention to makeup, poses, and esthetics. Even still, a major problem with holography is the problem that holograms, unlike photographs, tell the truth. It is difficult, if not impossible, to force a hologram to lie. One cannot airbrush and touch up an image as one can with photography. Until the world learns to accept and appreciate the truth about how people really look, holography will have difficulty. As long as society insists on presenting idealistic and unreal images of people holograms fundamentally have a problem.

The Reagan Portrait

The only hologram of a live U.S president is the one of Ronald Reagan, produced by Hans Bjelkhagan and Fred Unterseher. The hologram becomes the subject of several interesting stories.

Early portrait holograms were made with ruby lasers, the only ones with enough power and coherence to do the job. There are several esthetic problems with ruby lasers for portraits. Certain parts of the body, such as lips and nipples, absorb the red light so the reconstructed images of these parts appear black. Black lips are normally unattractive. To solve this problem models are often made up with green lipstick on the lips (and nipples). It is said that having an ex president with green lips was especially strange.

Unfortunately, Nancy Reagan never liked the hologram. She thought it made Ronnie look old and tired. Consequently, it has never found an honorable place in the presidential library.

The Reagan hologram is now a limited edition of 1000 and can be purchased for about $1000.

Each year on President Reagan’s birthday I keep my copy illuminated for the day.

Woman in a mirror-JDT

Living for the Moment-Again

At MetroLaser we had constructed a holocamera for recording outdoor explosions and impacts for the US Air Force, and it contained the largest commercially available ruby laser ever constructed. This seemed like an opportunity not to be passed up for recording some portraiture. As always, delivery schedules creep up on you, and we found ourselves with only a few days left before the required delivery date and still no studio for portraits.

I realized that the only way I would be able to get some good results in such a brief time would be to bring in someone who had holographic portrait experience as well as extra equipment to cut down the lead time for acquiring big mirrors and mounts. A friend, Fred Unterseher, was the perfect candidate, since he had done a considerable amount of holographic portraiture.

Fred agreed that the opportunity should not be missed and agreed to help for a few days if he could have a few holograms himself. Our plan was to produce portraits of employees and family and also to produce holograms of a model that I could use in what ultimately could become my "Great Masters" series of work in which I would capture in holograms some of the ideas of the great masters in art.

Locating and hiring a model in such short notice was the next problem. I called on a photographer friend, Karl, who told me he had contacts with a wide variety of models and could help find the perfect model. He asked me for some specifications, and I gave him the following guidelines:

We will be doing some nudes, at least from the waist up.
We would like a petite model, preferably blond because we need to conserve light.
She should have nice breasts and no marks since we cannot do airbrushing.
We need her for just a few hours.
We need her now and really don't have time for interviews.

"No problem," he responded.

By the time Saturday had rolled around Fred and I had assembled a rather impressive studio constructed of aluminum scaffolding, large mirrors, and black velvet cloth all fitted into our darkroom. Moreover, we had tested it on ourselves and fine-tuned it to make great portraits. We recorded portraits of a dozen employees and in a few cases entire families, mostly on large format Agfa Gavert film. We reserved Saturday for the model.

Kim, our model showed up with Karl at noon as planned. Karl was also curious about holography and was willing to offer his advice on the shoot for free. The model was attractive, blonde, and petite, as ordered, although it was pretty obvious that a plastic surgeon had been at work carving her nose to and almost-too-perfect shape and puffing up her lips to an almost-too-sexy condition. Pictures of models and models themselves often diverge drastically, and a good photographer knows exactly how, not only to compensate, but also to exploit what models bring to the party. Since one cannot airbrush a hologram, and you get a few shots instead of thousands, holographic portrait artists require a different kind of talent in bringing out (or, indeed, covering up) the features of model. I was counting on Fred for that sort of help.

The real shock came when our model removed her blouse to uncover the "nice" breasts I had specified. Apparently, Karl had heard me say "large" instead of "nice". Kim unveiled what had to be the largest breasts I had ever seen. From the wrong angle they appeared like basketballs in bags attached to her chest. Getting this right was to be a lot tougher than I had imagined.

Ultimately we produced a wide range of holograms of Kim several of which turned out really nice. I put them away and forgot about them for several years without really looking at them carefully. A few years later I pulled them out to display and studied them carefully to see which was the best. Upon careful examination, to my great surprise, I discovered, for the first time, that I could see the entire room in the hologram, even around behind the model. It was indeed a powerful laser. There we all stood in full 3-D with our eyes closed tightly at the moment the laser had fired.

Holographically, I was able to live the moment again.

Picasso Derivative-Woman in a Mirror-JDT

This holographic portrait was inspired by Picasso's Woman in a Mirror. Picasso produced a portrait of a woman in a mirror in the cubism style. It shows, from a single direction, various aspects of a woman. I would get one up on Picasso by producing a true 3-D image of a woman and then add 3 separate real dimensions by inserting a mirror into the scene. I purchased a large bathroom mirror for the work and stood directly behind the model while holding the mirror. As much experience as Fred and I have had with holography, we were still surprised, delighted and amused upon looking into the reconstructed image. There stood the nude model and her backside showed beautifully in the mirror. What we had not anticipated is that also clearly visible in the reconstructed image was me hiding behind the mirror (which one can look around in a hologram) and Fred in the background operating the laser. We had holographed the entire room.

Hologram of the Pope-Related by Craig Newswanger

Craig Newswanger, working at Applied Holographics, a company he had cofounded, was contracted to produce a rainbow hologram of the Pope, copies of which would be sold in Vatican museum stores. Production of such a hologram of a person requires, typically, that many images of the person be produced as either the person is rotated within the field of the camera or the camera is rotated about the person to provide multiple perspective views. After considerable thought and engineering effort, Craig assembled a special camera and scaffolding to allow such a process to be made portable and shipped it to Rome.

Arriving at the Vatican, he uncrated and reassembled the camera in a room provided by the Vatican staff, where he was told to wait while some scheduling would be done. The wait turned out to longer than anyone had expected. The good news about such a delay was that it gave Craig a lot of time to look around the Vatican in places most people may never venture. When the meeting finally took place eight days later Craig explained to the Pope's staff that the Pope should stand in the apparatus while the images were recorded around him. At this time they learned for the first time some extremely dismaying protocol-the Pope would not pose for photography. He would only allow photography while he was performing some function.

Craig then attempted, without success, to identify actions that are not posed that could be done by the Pope while standing almost stationary inside his camera field of view. With persistent negotiations and discussions leading nowhere, the complete plan fell apart, and it became clear that what was needed of the Pope was not to be had. Not accepting failure, Craig, who had visited the museum store extensively during his eight-day wait, returned and purchased a copy of almost every photo of the Pope in the store. Back in his lab in Van Nuys he scanned the photos into a computer and began the laborious process of searching out perspectives, getting proper sizes, and fitting them in order. He finally produced a holographic stereogram from six of the photos, which ultimately became the souvenir hologram that is available today.

Not the end of story-
A few years later, Craig, during a visit to Holomex, a hologram manufacturer in Mexico, was introduced to an artist, who also claimed to be a holographer. When Craig asked him what holograms he had produced, the artist told him he had made a hologram of the Pope. Seeing Craig's expression of disbelief, the artist assured him that he had done so and had a copy of the hologram in his car. Returning from his car, the artist produced a copy of the hologram Craig had created from photographs. Eventually, the artist admitted that while he himself had not produced the hologram, he was one of the original investors in the group that had contracted Applied Holographics.

Virtual Jewel Thieves-Related by Vladimir Markov

In the last part of the 20th Century Vladimir Markov carried a traveling holography show, which had been created by his academy, over a large part of Europe. The show was widely recognized for truly realistic images of museum objects from some of the greatest collections in the Soviet Union. The quality of these holograms is seldom surpassed even today. One of the pieces in the collection was a hologram of a priceless jeweled necklace. So good was the reproduction, appearing like a necklace inside a glass box, that, during a show, a jewel thief, noticing the rather lax security, failed to understand that it was a hologram and not the real thing. Upon opening the collection one morning it was discovered that during the night the thief had used a glass cutter to cut through the hologram with hopes of stealing the jewels inside. Imagine the look on his face upon discovering an empty box.

The Virtual Gun-Related by Vladimir Markov

On one of his trips in 1990, Vladimir and his co-workers were traveling across two countries when they arrived at a border station. Private citizens were not allowed to own or posses guns, and one of the guards naturally questioned if they were carrying any arms. Vladimir humorously answered positively to the guard, who, becoming upset, demanded to see the arms. Vladimir showed him a large hologram of a pistol. The baffled guard asked how the pistol was put into the glass and how to get it out. After some attempts at explaining holography, the guard offered to trade his pistol for the one in the glass.
Later, in a show, the guards in the museum insisted for security reasons that Vladimir show them how to connect a security wire to the gun in the hologram before he would be allowed to hang it on the wall.

The Cartier Jewel

In New York City, in 1970, the Cartier Jewelry Store commissioned a hologram to be produced by artist Bob Schinella, of a hand holding a jeweled necklace. The hologram was placed on a wall so that passers by could see a hand holding a necklace, projected from the wall. In a story that was reported in various newspapers, an overzealous lady passing by was said to have concluded this to be the devil's work and she attacked the hologram with her umbrella. Many of us in holography, believe that this was almost too dramatic to be real. While it may have actually happened the way it was reported, the story also sounds suspiciously like the ingenious work of a talented press agent working for either Tiffany's or for the holographer.

More on Cartier hologram-Related by John Caulfield

The artist, bob Schinella, related to me that he and the owner watched the crowds from inside the store the first day the hologram was placed in the window. Observers saw the hand of a lovely lady (at least I assume she was, we only saw her hand) reaching out from the window dangling a diamond necklace in the air - very dramatic. As modern swarm theory would predict, groups formed and dispersed throughout the day. As one group dispersed, one of the famous New York City “bag ladies” stayed behind, and seeing that she was alone, tried three times to grab the necklace before retreating in disgust.

Princess Margaret story-Related by John Webster

John Webster, a scientist who worked with various artists in England to assist with portrait holography. At one point Princess Margaret, who had a special interest in holography visited the laboratories of the CEGB, where John worked. Knowing that she was coming John produced a hologram of a Princess Margaret Rose to give her, and that was the first time he met her.

Some years later his holograms were on display at an international exhibition in the old Roman city of Bath where she had been invited to open the exhibition. John was at lunch at a restaurant about a mile away. John's meal had just been set before him by a waiter when a policeman entered the restaurant and asked for John. The policeman informed him that Princess Margaret had asked for him personally. John left his dinner to give her a special tour of the exhibit. She told him that she still enjoyed the rose hologram he had given her. That was the second time he met her.

Some time later John became an Anglican priest in the Church of England. He was attending a service in St George Chapel at Windsor Castle when he found himself kneeling beside Princess Margaret at the communion rail’-the third time of his meeting her. After the service she looked at him with a puzzled look and said, "I know you, don't I?" She was quite baffled by his transformation to priesthood. Again she recalled the hologram of the “Margaret Rose” that John had presented to her many years ago and assured him that she still kept it. It seems strange the effect that holograms have on people.

The various histories of holography-JDT.

Like many fields of endeavor, the history of holography varies widely according to who tells it, who wins (or survives), and who gets listened to the most. Even when all the facts are available, understanding how things happened and who should get the most credit is highly subjective. Since holography is still relatively young field, its early history is still in the making, and how it gets told to future generations is yet undetermined.
I was involved in a lecture series on holography at the Institute of Optics of Bogotá in 1992. The series integrated art holography, display holography, and technical measurements. For the first time I got a close look at the holographic art community. Each participant, selected as an expert in his area of the field of holography, might be expected to be completely familiar with the history of holography. When Carmenza Domiguez, an artist, gave a lecture entitled "History of Holography" I was astonished at her vision of the people who would be considered "giants" of the field.

My list would have included Gabor, Leith, Denisyuk, Upatnieks, Haines, Hildebrand, Stetson, Powell, Thompson, Goodman, Vest, Caulfield, Weurker, Collier, Brooks, and so on. Not only were most of these not on her list, she had never heard of most of them. Her list contained Burkout, Monday, Benton, Hess, Kaufman, Unterseher. I had heard of some of these people since I had developed an interest in art holography later in my career. For the first time I discovered that the art world had its own symposia, family, heroes, and, indeed, history that had a rather small intersection with most of the technical community.

Fellows of the SPIE-JDT

Sometimes we, as individual technical families tend to overrate our importance in the big picture. I faced several examples of this in the few years that I served as chairman of the Fellows Selection Committee for the SPIE, International Society for Optics. Each year members nominate and sponsor candidates to be awarded the special title of "Fellow". The committee receives and evaluates about 150 extensive nomination packages from which approximately the most impressive fifty are selected and passed on to the SPIE officers for final approval. Five committee members, from all over the world judge and score each package and then debate the final selection in an extensive telephone conference.

During my term as chairman, Yuri Denisyuk, a founding father of holography, namesake of one of the three basic types of holography was nominated.

To my absolute amazement, his score on the first polling was frightfully low since none of the other committee members (all well known scientists in the general field of optics) had ever heard his name. Part of the explanation may have been the fact that much science that had been developed in the former Soviet Union was just becoming known to American scientists. Another, part was, of course, more political since promotion to Fellow is a highly competitive phenomenon and complete objectivity is not always possible. Fortunately, a few holdouts changed their votes and Yuri became an honored Fellow as he should be.

Yuri Denisyuk meets Harold Edgerton (a Holographic encounter)-JDT

I had the honor to meet Yuri Denisyuk on several occasions, several of which resulted in interesting (at least to me) stories. We spent time together in various discussions at the "Benton Vision" seminar in Boston in 2003. On the evening of the Seminar, I noticed that Yuri had not received his nametag and seminar package so I suggested that we go to the front desk and get it. As we walked toward the front desk, we passed a number of holograms on exhibit. Yuri stopped before a holographic portrait of Harold Edgerton, turned and asked me, "Who is this man?” I responded that it was Harold Edgerton. He replied, "I don't know him." Edgerton was one of MIT's most famous former professors, who had invented strobe photography. He had passed away about 10 years earlier. I thought it rather unique that Yuri Densiyuk could learn of and first meet up with Harold Edgerton in this manner.

The Buddha Hologram-Related by Joseph Shu

There exists an ancient sculpture in Japan (at least one) that is legendary for its mystical powers. For centuries people came from miles around to touch the belly of this sculpture whereupon the believers would feel a powerful psychic energy pass through their fingers. In more recent years such sculptures became much too precious and fragile to present to the casual touch of the common people. Dr. Joseph Shu purchased a hologram that had been produced with the ancient mystical Buddha as a model and presented it to his father as a birthday present. He explained to his father that the light rays emerging from the hologram would be identical to the ones that had left the genuine Buddha. Since the belly of the reconstructed Buddha lay in front of the hologram, Mr. Shu was able to place his fingers in the same space. Upon doing so, his eyes immediately lit up. He could feel the same energy he had felt many years earlier when touching the belly of the authentic statue. Somehow the psychic energy had been captured in the hologram.

The UAH Center for Applied Optics-related by Hans Bjelkhagen

The Center for Applied Optics at the University of Alabama was founded in 19?? with John Caulfield as the first director. A huge amount of John's energy and time was spent in getting funding and making plans for a new optics laboratory for the center. When finally the new laboratory, one of the most advanced facilities in the USA, was completed, Hans Bjelkhagen visited John and ask him to show off his new laboratory, John's reply was, "I wish someone would show me MY laboratory. Apparently, by the time the building was completed, all of the laboratories had been claimed by members of the faculty.

Not long after the Center was established, a local photographer published a picture of a rainbow that, as coincidence would have it, had John's office at the rainbow base. John requested permission to use the photograph in brochures of the center, and he provided the photo to the news media with this intent. The photographer refused permission, though not before the photo was published in the local newspapers headlining John's Center for Applied Optics.

The T.J. Jeong five-minute lecture on holography-related by Emmett Leith

Holographers who are well known for providing efficient optical information handling are not well known for being efficient with words, and session chairmen must be vicious in keeping speakers on schedule. Emmett had organized a session on new methods in holography and included many speakers who were requested to give very brief talks. A speaker could choose ten or fifteen minutes. Most speakers wanted as much time as possible and opted for the 15 minutes. To Emmett's great surprise "This speaker (T.J. Jeong ) asked for only five minutes--absolutely unheard of before. Furthermore, the speaker promised a great deal in this five minutes. He would, the abstract said, give a method of making off-axis holograms with only one beam, in a set up that used no beamsplitters and no mirrors, just the laser, beam expander, object, and recording plate. Furthermore, the hologram recorded the object in full 360 degrees." As incredulous as Emmett was he accepted the request and T.J. "lived up to his promises,..." 
Since that time T.J. has delivered many lectures wherein he produced a hologram for the audience on a tabletop as they watch from an auditorium.

Hologram card detector-Anonymous

In the heyday of card collecting, companies such as Upper Deck and Topps searched for ways to make specific cards more collectible. One method involved randomly placing "rare" cards in with the remaining cards of ball players, movie stars and so on. Embossed holograms, having additional features of being really different as well as difficult to counterfeit, were included as special prizes in packs of collecting cards. Only about one out of every ten packs contained a hologram card, which therefore became worth much more than the common cards in the pack. An avid collector, John Doe, with whom I was acquainted worked out a variety of procedures to determine which packs contained holograms without actually opening the pack.

Most of the companies simply added a hologram card to the package making the pack one card thicker than a package without a hologram. By using calipers, Doe was able to determine which pack contained the hologram. Using calipers was not always possible since they were not very stealth, and the process looks rather suspicious. Eventually, Doe devised a metal detector built into a shirt, which would buzz when metal was brought close to it. He could pick up a pack of cards, hold it close to his shirt and wait for the sound in an earpiece. Doe wound up with many hologram cards in his collection.

The Disney Company produced one of the most difficult packages to crack, since the Disney Characters were packaged in metal-coated packs, with only about one hologram card per case. The Mickey Mouse hologram card became one of the rarest of cards.

The Legacies of Denisyuk, Gabor, and Leith-JDT

Historians will agree that Dennis Gabor's invention of "The Hologram", in 1947, occurred a long time before anything else exciting happened in the field of holography. In fact, Gabor's invention, itself, was not very exciting or even useful to anyone. Nevertheless, today he gets almost unconditional credit for the discovery of holography, and he received the Nobel Prize for that. The next really exciting events in this field happened fifteen years later, in the works of Emmett Leith, an American, and Yuri Denisyuk, a Russian, independent of and without help from Gabor or each other. Apparently because of the lack of communication between the Soviets and Americans these two individuals were not aware of each other for some time and neither was aware of Gabor. Historians agree that these two men are "giants" of the field and of roughly equal stature (depending upon the historian). Each of these three men discovered his piece of the field independently and laid a solid foundation for the field. Subsequent researchers could build on the fundamental ideas as well as drawing from rapidly emerging publications and discussions with many researchers who quickly entered a budding field. The students of these founders, especially those of Leith and Denisyuk, were some of the major players in expanding knowledge and new ideas in the field.

Both Denisyuk and Leith had invented something quite different from each other and also different from what Gabor had done; unfortunately for Denisyuk and Leith, all three inventions got classified as the same thing. The reason for this is that the mathematics that describes holography can be generalized to describe all three inventions.

The Soviets, having concentrated on better recording materials (needed for this kind of holography) from the outset, developed holography along a line that was considerably different than that of Western scientists. Most western scientists relied on large photographic companies for materials (They had adequate, but not really great, materials) and were constrained by a requirement of a commercial market. Better recording materials were not a major issue with Gabor's form of holography.

Perhaps because Gabor had given the holograms its name, he wound up getting credit (unfairly, in my opinion) for inventing what both Leith and Denisyuk had invented, when, in fact, what he invented turned out to be much less profound or useful. Gabor's invention received almost no attention until Leith's and Denisyuk's inventions were lumped in with it and all called holograms. Close friends to Denisyuk relate how devastated he was when he finally discovered that someone had already “invented” his discovery 15 years earlier.

It seems a mere coincidence that Gabor's theories, with a considerable extension, generalization, and interpretation cover both Denisyuk's and Leith's discoveries, resulting in his getting credit for the entire field as well as the Nobel Prize (only after Leith and Denisyuk did something really great with holography). Most holography scientists living as the history was being developed recognized that what either Leith or Denisyuk did was probably more important, more creative, and for sure, more exciting than what Gabor had done. A sizeable group even attempted to get the Nobel Prize for these two as well. They came pretty close, but a combination of infighting and jealousies amongst other holographers and the Nobel committee's unwillingness to give the award for the "same thing" again, led to failure. It is likely that history will never give these two gentlemen the credit they deserve and will give Gabor the credit he does not deserve. Without Leith and/or Densiyuk, it is likely that the world would never have heard of holography and the Nobel committee would never have heard of Gabor.

As in many other fields, after the initial seminal developments, many holographers jumped on the bandwagon and laid claim to many important "firsts" in holography. In the nineteen sixties and seventies the word "holography" in a technical paper title almost guaranteed its acceptance for publication. People came up with all kinds of tricks, gimmicks, techniques, new applications, materials, and vouched for the importance of these in making holography do useful things. Here again, the actual importance of any individual contribution is highly subjective, and is subject to the whims of history tellers. One clue in determining the actual importance of an invention might be the number of years that pass before it finds its way into something really useful.

Holography and Royalty-Related by Fred Unterseher

The Royal College of Art in London was extremely active in holography in the seventies and eighties. Fred Unterseher tells a story of a visit by an entourage that included Princess Margaret and a few of her guards to a holography laboratory in which he was employed at the time in London. She had expressed desire to see a hologram so a show and tell had been set up in her honor. When she entered the laboratory she was directed to a viewing spot to see the reconstructed image in a large hologram. Fred, who is not known best for neatness, had laser beams running around the table in rather inconvenient paths for viewing.

Every time Princess Margaret leaned over to look into the hologram she also blocked the reconstructing beam, so she could see nothing. Fred, seeing the problem and not being fully aware of the rules about touching royalty, took her by the shoulders to move her into the proper spot. Needless to say, her bodyguards were not at all pleased with Fred's helpful gesture.

Among Fred’s other misadventures in his stay in England was his difficulty in Fourier transforming the highway system (driving on the “wrong” side of the road). He totaled two rental cars during his first week in England.

National Geographic holograms

From March, 1984 to December, 1988 three National Geographic covers featured and promoted holography to many more people worldwide than any previous event. The holograms were created by Kenneth Haines and his team at American Banknote/Eidetic Images. (Haines was the founder of Eidetic Images, later purchased by American Banknote and was the first of many students to graduate from the University of Michigan while working under Emmett Leith, one of the fathers of holography.) Before the National Geographic cover only a few people had ever seen a hologram. In addition to representing a seminal event in holography, many interesting stories came out of the process. I heard most of these directly from Ken.

First cover-The eagle-

The first NG cover hologram was an eagle, embossed on the cover of the March 1984 issue. But the eagle had already appeared on another much less publicized cover. The wife of the president of American Banknote, who was designing the ABN annual report, had provided the eagle and asked Ken to produce a hologram for that report cover to represent the company’s new product. The model was, unfortunately, almost an inch larger than could be accommodated by the largest embossing master of the day, requiring the wings to be broken and moved closer to the eagle's body. At some point the poor mutilated eagle appeared much less regal and the holographers began calling it their "chicken" model. The hologram was completed and became a great success, producing a very attractive cover that almost everyone saved.

Then came the National Geographic opportunity with a fuse so short that the best way to meet the tight schedule was to reuse the eagle. Nevertheless, a number of problems, such as alignment of the embossing machine with the cover, remained unsolved for such a huge production. National Geographic had imposed a "drop dead" date on which American Banknote was required to produce 10,000 covers to be given the go ahead. More than once, key people walked away in frustration before returning to the meet the challenge. The team worked all night up until minutes before the NG team arrived for inspection to pass this milestone.

One subtle mistake made early in production was having the eagle facing to the left. Eventually someone pointed out that an eagle facing to the left is symbolic for defeat, while one facing right symbolizes victory. The mistake was quickly corrected and a new batch of holograms was made. A few copies of the "wrong way eagle" hologram had already been handed out as samples when the rest were destroyed. Copies of the original "Wrong way eagle" hologram are already prized collector's items.

The Second National Geographic Cover-

Basking in the success of the first hologram cover, Bill Garrett, editor of National Geographic, was sold on the concept, and began discussing the production of a second cover for an issue on early man. As fate would have it, a special exhibit of rare fossils was on display at the New York Museum. Ken, who is also a trained anthropologist, was familiar with some of the fossils as well as members of the museum. On the basis of producing such a cover, the museum agreed to loan a fossil to ABN for the purpose of producing the hologram. Ken chose one of the oldest, a 33 million year old fossil, from the Aegyptopithecus period.

The hologram would be four times as large as the original eagle. On the day of the recording, two guards from the museum appeared at American Banknote, Eidetic Images to deliver the skull. As an anthropologist, Ken was almost emotionally overcome with excitement of having such a rare historical fossil on his holography table. He placed the skull on his table and looked at it over and over for two days before attempting to mount it for recording. The best specimen was lacking a mandible (jaw) so the museum directors selected one from a collection of mandibles and sent it along with the skull. To everyone's amazement the mandible was a perfect fit, as though it really belonged to this fossil.

Various versions of the Aegyptopithecus were recorded. In one version, National Geographic staff had furnished a set of block letters naming the fossil to be recorded in the hologram. Fortunately, Ken's training allowed him to recognize that the NG writer had misspelled Aegyptopithecus, and the grateful writer thanked him for saving him and the magazine from embarrassment of such a mistake. The master holograms of this fossil are some of the highest resolution recordings ever produced by Ken. They allow a microscopic inspection of the fossil details in the reconstructed image.

A plan had been laid to have the two guards deliver the fossil to an anthropologist at the New York airport, where the fossil, had its own seat reserved for the flight back to Pretoria, Africa. At the last minute, Ken received a phone call requesting that he personally deliver the fossil to the airport. Ken relates his nervousness, watching the package on the front seat of his car, imagining that if he were to wreck and damage the skull, he would go down in history as the "boob" who destroyed what was considered to be one of the most priceless human relics in existence.

One week later Kenneth, driving the same route, was involved in a car accident that totaled his car.

Before the production plan went further it was realized that Aegyptopithecus did not actually represent the period featured in the article, most of which is about the form of man that appeared 30 million years later. At first, it appeared that another fossil, the Taung Child, of the 3 million year old Australopithecus variety, which better represented the feature article, was available. Unfortunately, the schedules were not compatible or sufficiently flexible for the Taung Child to be recorded and it went back to Africa before a more tractable arrangement could be made.

National Geographic ultimately funded an expedition to South Africa during which Ken set up a laboratory and made holograms on site. The Aegyptopethicus hologram would serve as a back up in case the Taung Child effort failed. At first this appeared to be the case. Ken struggled for weeks attempting to produce a hologram of the same quality as that of the Aegyptopithecus hologram. After nearly four weeks of not so good results he discovered that the Taung child, being a much younger and shinier fossil was maintaining and rotating the polarization of the light, resulting in the black spots that had persisted in the recordings. After fixing this fundamental problem, an acceptable master recording was made, having taken four weeks of work.

Ken, being somewhat a perfectionist, had his own ideas of what is perfection. Having produced several nickel masters, which were acceptable to every one but him, finally produced the perfect nickel master, which had eliminated a troubling "swirl" in the bottom right hand side of the hologram. Upon presenting it to Ed Weitzen, president of American Banknote, Ed responded, "It's too late, we already used one of the earlier ones." (The swirl, which is invisible to the casual viewer, can be seen in the published cover.)

A second milestone in magazine cover holograms came in November, 1985 when National Geographic used the Taung Child hologram.

The Third National geographic hologram cover

December 1988, represented a number of new “firsts”. This was the first time the entire cover of a magazine, both front and back was a hologram. The back cover is a McDonald's ad, the first and only time an advertisement appeared on the cover of National Geographic. This is not an embossed hologram. It was produced by casting, the first time a cast hologram was used on a magazine cover. The front cover is a multiplex hologram that shows the earth exploding into fragments.

Attempting to outdo the first two covers resulted in near disaster for several participants. To maintain authenticity required the use of a pulsed laser and precision timing. Ed Weitzen insisted that this specific model, which was not ideal for hololgraphy, be used. Although a very striking gold cover was produced the images are not as viewable as the earlier covers and the costs skyrocketed. The final production wound up costing around 25 cents per cover causing the magazine to lose millions of dollars and the editor, Bill Garrett to lose his job.

“Welcome to Russia,” Professor Lohmann-Related by John Caulfield

Adolf Lohmann, one of the first holographers (preceding both Leith and Denisyuk) is still active in the field. With the world still in the throes of the Cold War, Yuri Denisyuk invited him to visit his institute in Leningrad (Now St. Petersburg). In those days, visiting Russia was a not only unusual but sometimes frightening for Westerners, especially upon passing through Russians customs.

“What do you have in your briefcase, Professor Lohmann,” queried the inspector.
“I have only a few books, and scientific papers, and also a few holograms I have brought to show my Russian colleagues.”
“You have holograms?! Let me see your holograms!”
Extracting the holograms and handing them to the inspector, Adolf became distraught as a frightening scene unfolded. The holograms were confiscated, sealed in a bag, and he was ordered to report to the police the next day to explain why he was bringing holograms into the Soviet Union.

At last through customs and baggage claim he was greeted by Yuri and his guide (a KGB agent). Lohmann immediately explained his problem and confusion. After a brief silence, the two Russians looked at each other and broke into laughter. Finally, they explained that the Russian word hologram is pronounced more like “gologram.” The word hologram in Russian sounds more like a word that means "pictures of nudes" or more commonly pornography, which was outlawed in the Soviet Union.

The Little Laser that couldn't: Related by John Caulfield

John was asked to write an article on holography to accompany the March, 1984 eagle hologram cover, produced by Ken Haines (described above). He was impressed with the extensive technical peer review that followed his submission, and he could only assume that all of the articles would receive similar reviews for scientific accuracy. When the publication finally came out he was stunned by a companion article describing the operation of lasers, written by a staff writer, that apparently had undergone little if any review for scientific accuracy. According to John, the writer describes a device that could not possible produce lasing action. John likens National Geographic to Playboy. Everyone who buys it piously says they are doing so because of the high quality articles, but, in fact, they just want to look at the pictures. Not surprisingly, Ken expressed a similar opinion.

Jumpei Tsujiuchi, the hologram thief-Related by John Caulfield

Professor Tsujiuchi is recognized as the pioneer of Japanese holography. Many years ago when he first visited Yugoslavia for a hologram meeting, he carried with him a spectacular multiplexed cylindrical hologram he had made. The customs agents, understanding neither holograms, Japanese, or English, became so difficult an obstacle that, in frustration, Jumpei said, “Here. Let me show you. The customs agents were so mesmerized with the beautiful rotating, colored 3D image appeared that they passed him through customs and completely forgot to provide him paperwork that would prove that he had brought it into the country. The real nightmare began as he left the country and was required to prove that he was not attempting to steal Yugoslavia's art. When things began to look grim his quick-thinking Yugoslav host saved the day by “admitting” that it was Yugoslavian property and signing a paper saying that he had sold it to his distinguished guest.

Misadventures with Denisyuk-Type Holograms-Various holographers

Many of us who began early making Gabor and Leith/Upatnieks type holograms discovered or failed to discover Denisyuk holograms in our own ways before learning that Yuri Denisyuk had already invented and perfected the process long before we did.

Lasers were low in power, film was slow, and available plates were small. An object had to be placed far enough away from the recording plate to fit in the reference wave, and single wavelength light was required for viewing images. An obvious way, it would seem, to solve some of these problems would be to bring the reference wave in from behind the recording plate. Those who were intimately familiar with Lippman photography might have guessed that this would allow white light reconstruction, though few of us did.

It would have save many of us a lot of time if we had only learned about Yuri’s work earlier.

The University of Michigan Group--Related by Ken Haines

In the very early days Ken was asked by Al Friesom if he thought a hologram could be made by bringing the reference wave in from behind the plate. Ken thought about it for a moment and answered, "No, I don't think it will work." Al Friesom still kids Ken about this missed opportunity.

Some time later, still before Denisyuk's work had been discovered by Leith and Upatnieks, they were experimenting with the procedure of bringing the reference wave in from behind the recording plate. A very fortunate accident occurred because the laser laboratory was in a different building from the darkroom. In bring a developed plate back to the laser laboratory, Juris happened to glance at the developed plate in the sunlight and realized that an image was being reconstructed in white light. They had accidentally rediscovered white light reflection holography.

Jim Trolinger AEDC laboratory- JDT

Joe O'hare and I began producing Leith/Upatnieks type holograms in 1967 at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee. Almost immediately it occurred to me that since the plates we were using were nearly transparent that an object could be placed immediately behind the recording plate and illuminated through the plate very efficiently. I was not sure what the consequence of having a reference wave from the direction opposite the object would do but I tried it anyway. Upon attempting to reconstruct the image with the same laser, I could see nothing of interest being reconstructed, not realizing that an emulsion shrinkage had changed the required reconstruction wavelength. After making a dozen or so of these Denisyuk-type holograms (several years before learning about Denisyuk) without success, I gave up and filed them away with other failures. A year passed before I became aware of what I had missed by not persisting and trying various things, like white light reconstruction.

After learning that white light could be used in reconstructing such holograms, I reexamined the old holograms using a slide projector and indeed saw an image, though still rather dim. Amazingly (to me), I had the holograms all along and just had not figured out how to look at them. I was somewhat excited by the potential that everyone may have one of these hanging on his wall some day. Professor Tom Gee (University of Tennessee Space Institute) and I began researching our new blockbuster holography product and produced holograms of a space ship that projected from the wall. We never arrived at a marketable diffraction efficiency, unfortunately. The required bleaching technology was not known in the US for another few years.

Dali holograms-Related by Jean-Louis Trebillion

Jean-Louis Trebillion, a French holographer worked directly with Salvador Dali for several months in producing one of his works, an experience that made Jean-Louis a great admirer of Dali. Dali was extremely fascinated with holograms and produced at least two works involving holograms. Dali’, himself, being an admirer of Valasquez, produced a multiplex hologram partially based on Velasquez’s painting “Las Mininas” containing some parts in a collage that also contained the words “Velasquez-Holos”. Another work of Dali’s described by Jean-Louis was one of four astronauts playing cards and drinking beer. Jean-Louis is a proud owner of one of the pieces. He did not know the whereabouts of the other pieces

Parallelisms with Photography-JDT

Photography had its origins in the work of many inventors. Imaging (without recording the image) had been around for over 300 hundred years, first in camera obscuras and camera lucidas using pinholes, convex mirrors, and lenses. Efficient methods to save the image remained illusive until the middle of the nineteenth century, although photosensitive materials had been discovered and used in crude forms. Making photography more practical came about with Daguerre and Fox-Talbot with at least two major breakthroughs, fixing the image and the use of the latent image to increase sensitivity. Invention of the photographic negative by Fox-Talbot allowed images to be projected and magnified.

Fox-Talbot was clever enough to patent his process and his enforcement of the patent caused much irritation, disgust, and ethical accusations among scientists and entrepreneurs of the day. Even so, photography was quickly commercialized and became widespread through the Kodak "Brownie" within twenty years of the first disclosures of photography.

On the contrary, holography, first invented in 1947, was little recognized, even in the scientific community for another 15 years. The first important patents were granted in the period from 1965 to 1970, and their ownership passed from company to company after several commercial failures and bankruptcies. The first widespread commercial application came with the use of embossed holograms in security and display devices. The basic holography intellectual property rights were purchased by Eidetic Images and were enforced on many commercial ventures attempting to jump onto the embossed holography bandwagon. As in photography this legal activity created considerable resentment and criticism in the holography community.

Other companies that attempted to collect on patents related to embossed holography application often found their patents unenforceable, because the original work by Leith and his group was so comprehensive.

A Dog Named Gabor-Related by Fred Way

Fred worked for International Laser Systems in Orlando Florida and was instrumental in promoting holography with frequency doubled YAG lasers in the early 1970’s. The ILS holography YAG laser was referred to amicably (and sometimes disparagingly) as the “Green Weenie” by many of its users. Fred was such a devotee to holography that he named his collie “Gabor”. When Fred finally met Dennis Gabor, he proudly told Gabor about his namesake. To Fred’s dismay, Gabor was quick to show his lack of appreciation for that gesture.

A Career Looking at Small Particles with Holography-JDT

In the 37 years since I first made a hologram in 1967, I have never run out of a new kind of particle field to investigate or a new adventure with holography in a far away place. Every one produced a story of its own. Over 100 applications include;

  1. First(1967) Holographic particle image velocimetry (Tullahoma, TN. USAF)
  2. Most recent (2004) Glass shards from a terrorist attack (Natchez MS, USAWES)
  3. Cloud particles (from airplanes) (Guam, Kwajalein, and USA)
  4. Rocket motor exhaust particles (Tullahoma, TN. USAF)
  5. Coal particle devolitilization (Rayleigh Durham, NC, EPA)
  6. Sprays (Brussels Belgium, Von Karmen Institute)
  7. Combusting sprays (Nanjing, China)
  8. Dust (Mohave Desert)
  9. Insects in flight (Flies, mosquitoes) (Many places, some accidentally)
  10. FAE bomb droplet dispersions (China Lake, CA, USNWC)
  11. Snow flakes and Ice crystals (Elk Mountain WY, UofW Weather Observatory)
  12. Ice crystals (Burlington NH, USCRRL)
  13. Burning powders (Picatinny Arsenal, NJ)
  14. Particle shock wave interaction (Seattle WA, Hawthorne, CA, USAF SAMSO)
  15. Seeding particles in streams (Various)
  16. Crystals (on the ground and in space) (KSC FL Space Shuttle)
  17. Microbes and plankton in sea water (Newport RI, NUSC)
  18. Shrapnel in impacts and explosions (Ft. Walton Beach, FL, USAF)
  19. Fiber glass (Burlington Iowa to help settle a patent dispute)
  20. Mineral fiber (Portland Oregon)
  21. Bubbles (Idaho Falls, ID INEL)
  22. Rapid Solidification Processing
  23. Sand blasters
  24. Exploding droplets
  25. Flying debris (impact collateral damage)
  26. Fuel droplets. (rocket motors, diesel engines, fuel tank ullages, injectors)
  27. Water droplets (rain, irrigation nozzles, fire fighting)
  28. Nebulizer sprays (Medical devices, particle generators)

Number of holograms-JDT

When I first started making holograms, a long time passed between hologram recordings, and it took several tries to get an acceptable one. These involved set up time and film development, and washing and drying before anything useful could be extracted. In a good day, we could collect a few dozen holograms. Getting the data out of them could take months.

With time and technology this improved. Using film and vacuum platens allow us to produce hundreds before developing, then thermoplastic recording devices allowed holograms to be produced and examined immediately.

The real break through came with digital holography. In the first week I began producing digital holograms on a CCD array, I concluded that I made more holograms than in the entire rest of my career.

Using a hologram like a window into a previous time-JDT

A hologram can be thought of as a window into a previous time and place capturing an instant in time with each hologram. When we first produced holograms in space in 1985, we were not sure what the data would tell us. We extracted as much data as we could from these “windows into space” about crystal growth and how particles move in fluids. As technology improved and new measurement tools and methods became available, we went back to these holograms time and again, making new measurements that were not possible when the holograms were first produced. These holograms are still useful as new theories and tools become available. They allow an investigator effectively to return to space without leaving his laboratory.

The first US Space Holocamera-JDT

The first US holocamera to fly in space (Spacelab 3, 1985) was designed by NASA and a team at TRW Inc, which included Ralph Wuerker.

Percy Hildebrand and I were hired to do a complete paper analysis of this system with orders to evaluate it and offer design improvement suggestions (which we did). The TRW contract became so expensive and ran so over budget that NASA was forced terminate the contract and pull the system back in house to complete it. As my good fortune would have it, the NASA principal investigator, Ravindra Lal, remembered me from design review meetings and requested that NASA hire me to help finish the job. That began my long association with NASA spaceflight holography, which led to two spaceflights and, thousands of holograms made in space. For years we believed this to be the first application of holography to be in space until the Soviet Union collapsed and I learned that the Soviets had flown a holocamera in their space station two years earlier.

Holography Adventures in Bogota, Columbia-JDT

Holography took me to many interesting places and allowed me to work with some truly great people. One of the more unusual ones was Bogotá, Columbia, in the mid 1980’s, working to help establish the Institute of Optics of Bogotá. Bill McGowen, keeper of the Images in Time and Space collection, conceived of the institute, and brought in people to help establish it. Included were Vladimir Markov (the first and last director), Stephen Benton, Fred Unterseher, Carminza Domingues, and me. We worked and played together many hours in building labs, teaching classes, and stirring up publicity. Many friendships and tales came out of this association.

Holographic Hostages

Even then there were concerns about car bombs and kidnappings. Nevertheless we went on several expeditions in our free times. One of the most memorable is an outing with Stephen Benton and Professor Efram Barbosa (National University of Columbia) to the small town of Pasco. We had some concerns because the guerillas were known to operate in some of the villages. Efram was attempting to convince Steve and me that we were safe here. He said, “This town is really a safe and honest place.” Then he added, “as long as they don’t find out that you are Americans.”
As we were leaving Pasco, Efram commented, that the guerillas did not operate much in this town. Then he added as an after thought, “They did kill the mayor two weeks ago, however.”
Steve and I discovered that taxis in Bogotá were really cheap and a great way to get around the sprawling city. Some of the best shopping centers were on the North side of town, while the National University, where we were lecturing, was on the South. We took several shopping trips during our stay. On the plane back to the USA I discussed the Bogotá safety issue with a Columbian businessman sitting next to me and ask him for advice. In addition to the usual “staying in large groups and not wandering around alone at night”, he added “One thing for sure; stay away from taxis, since a lot of these guys work for the kidnappers.”

Holographic Terrorists?

On one occasion, when Fred Unterseher and I were setting up a holography laboratory in the Gold Museum of Bogota to record holograms of Inca gold, I lingered behind to retrieve developing chemicals from the car boot as the others entered the museum. Suddenly, as I turned around with an armload of chemicals I found myself face to face with a terrified, screaming (in Spanish) Columbian soldier brandishing an Uzi, aimed directly at my head. Suddenly I remembered the local problem with car bombers. Fortunately, the bank officials rescued me before the soldier had a chance to eliminate his first terrorist of the day.

Holographic Gold Thieves

The Gold Museum recording episode came to a sudden stalemate when the museum director saw the quality of the holograms we were prepared to produce. She immediately ordered that nothing would leave the museum until legal hologram ownership agreements could be produced. At one point she told us that “The Spaniards came to Columbia 400 years ago and traded mirrors for our gold. Now the Americans want to steal away our gold in holograms.” Apparently, she felt that having gold inside a glass hologram was not much different from having it inside a glass case in a double walled safe. When the hologram is good enough, I think she could be right.

Ken Haines and the Clean Table

Ken Haines is the best experimentalist I ever worked with, and I wish I could say that I had learned his secret by working with him. But being like Ken would take a discipline that is far beyond my capacity. He has a drive to achieve the ultimate, and he usually does just that. Holograms that he produced are absolutely the best and embossed holograms produced under his direction have a signature of always being remarkably better than any of his contenders. One of the reasons he is a good experimentalist is that he is also an excellent theoretician, and he always has theories that drive experiments.

One of his most delightful idiosyncrasies is the following: When Ken assembles an experiment, one of the last things he does before actually conducting any experiment is to remove absolutely everything that is not needed in the experiment from the table. This includes tools, allen wrenches, coffee cups, pencils, pads, and so on. He is religious about this. I eventually got use to this requirement when working with him and prepared for the ritual of removing all items from the table that were not needed to run the experiment, including things that were bolted down on the opposite side of the table well out of the way. In one of the last jobs we did together, we had a 4X8 stable table, one of those with holes drilled and tapped on one inch centers all over the top, covered with optics of every variety and three lasers all securely bolted down. When we were set up and ready to go, I went through the clean up ritual removing bits and pieces that were not involved in the experiment even before Ken mentioned it. As I began turning on all of the equipment I could tell that something was still bothering Ken. I paused for a minute and ask him, “Is something wrong?”

Ken stood there with a really troubled look and I could tell that he was hesitating to admit that something really was bothering him. Finally, he gave in. “Okay, just please humour me.” Then he picked up an allen wrench and moved to the other side of the table. Someone had put a screw into one of the 4324 holes in the table top that was serving no purpose in our experiment. After Ken removed it, he was relieved and the experiment could proceed.

31. Bright Lasers and Dim Safety Officers

As related by Vance Deason

As an employee of the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL), one of the nation’s leading centers for nuclear reactor engineering, Vance pioneered a variety of applications of holography in the nuclear industry. As with most government agencies he also had to contend with a huge safety bureaucracy that sometimes defies common sense, especially in the early days of lasers when standards in laser safety were inconsistent and meaningful rules had yet to be established. Laser pointers that can be purchased in electronics stores today had to be treated as lethal weapons in some laboratories where overzealous safety bureaucrats went over the top. Because nuclear reactor safety rules are extremely complex, Vance had learned through years of experience about bureaucracy and he was well prepared for the safety branch to review his procedures for operating a holography system that had been developed to inspect welds. To simplify the inspection Vance had made a complete video of the system in operation, showing operators and the steps for safely operating the system. He figured one look at this and the safety officer will be convinced, would sign off on the setup and be on his way.

When the safety officer arrived, Vance showed him the laser holography setup, flashing lights, interlocked doors, safety goggles, and described some of the operation before moving to the conference room where the video was set up. When everyone was comfortably seated he started the video. It was a Hollywood production with cameras panning over the operators, all wearing safety goggles backed up by red flashing lights in the background and then zooming in on the laser as a countdown could be heard. At the point the safety operator jumped from his chair and shouted, “STOP, STOP, we should all be wearing safety goggles, and this room does not have safety interlocks.

So much for a quick sign off.



Take a look at some of the equisite holograms I have collected


Miscellaneous holography critiques by various authors....more

News & Articles

Holography beneath the surface....more


Meet the scientist who make up the Holoknights ...more


See how I use mix my love for art with holography...more

Holography History-

The First 60 Years Review...more The History of the Aerospace Holography Industry...more


See my company.....more
See my resume.......more