Dennis Gabor

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Dennis Gabor
File:Dennis Gabor.jpg
Born (1900-06-05)5 June 1900
Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary
Died 8 February 1979(1979-02-08) (aged 78)
London, England
Citizenship Hungarian / British
Alma mater Technical University of Berlin
Technical University of Budapest
Known for Invention of holography
Awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1971)
IEEE Medal of Honor (1970)
Scientific career
Fields Electrical engineering
Institutions Imperial College London
British Thomson-Houston

Dennis Gabor CBE, FRS[1] (original Hungarian name: Gábor Dénes; 5 June 1900 – 8 February 1979) was a Hungarian-British[2] electrical engineer and inventor, most notable for inventing holography, for which he later received the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics.[3]

Biography

He was born as Günszberg Dénes, into a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary, as the first born son of Günszberg Bernát and Jakobovits Adél. In 1902, the family received the permission to change their family name from Günszberg to Gábor. He served with the Hungarian artillery in northern Italy during World War I.[4] He studied at the Technical University of Budapest from 1918, later in Germany, at the Charlottenburg Technical University in Berlin, now known as the Technical University of Berlin.[5] At the start of his career, he analysed the properties of high voltage electric transmission lines by using cathode-beam oscillographs, which led to his interest in electron optics.[5] Studying the fundamental processes of the oscillograph, Gabor was led to other electron-beam devices such as electron microscopes and TV tubes. He eventually wrote his Ph.D. thesis concerning the cathode ray tube in 1927, and worked on plasma lamps.[5]

Gabor, a Jew, fled from Nazi Germany in 1933, and was invited to Britain to work at the development department of the British Thomson-Houston company in Rugby, Warwickshire. During his time in Rugby, he met Marjorie Butler, and they married in 1936. He became a British citizen in 1946,[6] and it was while working at British Thomson-Houston that he invented holography, in 1947.[7] He experimented with a heavily filtered mercury arc light source.[5] However, the earliest hologram was only realised in 1964 following the 1960 invention of the laser, the first coherent light source. After this, holography became commercially available.

Gabor's research focused on electron inputs and outputs, which led him to the invention of re-holography.[5] The basic idea was that for perfect optical imaging, the total of all the information has to be used; not only the amplitude, as in usual optical imaging, but also the phase. In this manner a complete holo-spatial picture can be obtained.[5] Gabor published his theories of re-holography in a series of papers between 1946 and 1951.[5]

Gabor also researched how human beings communicate and hear; the result of his investigations was the theory of granular synthesis, although Greek composer Iannis Xenakis claimed that he was actually the first inventor of this synthesis technique.[8] Gabor's work in this and related areas was foundational in the development of time–frequency analysis.

In 1948 Gabor moved from Rugby to Imperial College London, and in 1958 became professor of Applied Physics until his retirement in 1967. While spending much of his retirement in Italy, he remained connected with Imperial College as a Senior Research Fellow and also became Staff Scientist of CBS Laboratories, in Stamford, Connecticut; there, he collaborated with his life-long friend, CBS Labs' president Dr. Peter C. Goldmark in many new schemes of communication and display. One of Imperial College's new halls of residence in Prince's Gardens, Knightsbridge is named Gabor Hall in honour of Gabor's contribution to Imperial College. He developed an interest in social analysis and published The Mature Society: a view of the future in 1972.[9]

Following the rapid development of lasers and a wide variety of holographic applications (e.g., art, information storage, and the recognition of patterns), Gabor achieved acknowledged success and worldwide attention during his lifetime.[5] He received numerous awards besides the Nobel Prize.

Awards

Awards named after Dennis Gabor

The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) presents its Dennis Gabor Award annually, "in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in diffractive wavefront technologies, especially those which further the development of holography and metrology applications." [11]

The NOVOFER Foundation of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences annually presents its International Dennis Gabor Award, for outstanding young scientists researching in the fields of physics and applied technology.

The Gabor Medal is awarded by the Royal Society of London for "acknowledged distinction of interdisciplinary work between the life sciences with other disciplines".[12]

In popular culture

  • On June 5, 2010, the logo for the Google website was drawn to resemble a hologram in honor of Dennis Gabor's 110th birthday.[13]
  • In David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, Hal suggests that "Dennis Gabor may very well have been the Antichrist."[14]

See also

Bibliography

Social analysis
  • Inventing the Future (Secker & Warburg, 1963)
"The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented. It was man's ability to invent which has made human society what it is." (Pelican Books, 1964, p. 161)
  • Innovations: Scientific, Technological, and Social (1970)
  • The Mature Society. A View of the Future (1972)
  • Beyond the Age of Waste: A Report to the Club of Rome (Pergamon international library of science, technology, engineering and social studies, paperback, 1978)

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 doi:10.1098/rsbm.1980.0004
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  3. doi:10.1038/280431a0
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  7. GB685286 GB patent GB685286, British Thomson-Houston Company, published 1947 
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External links