Emmett N. Leith

Emmett N. Leith
Emmett N. Leith
Detroit, MI, USA
Death date
IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award, National Medal of Science


Dr. Emmett Leith was known as the co-inventor, with Juris Upatnieks, of three-dimensional holography. He and Upatnieks, his colleague at the University of Michigan, displayed the world's first three-dimensional hologram at the 1964 Optical Society of America conference.

Leith was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 12, 1927. He received his bachelor's (1949) and master's degrees (1952) in Physics and his doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering (1978), all from Wayne State University. He joined the University of Michigan's Willow Run Laboratory in 1952. Much of his work with holography stemmed from his research on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that he conducted here. Between 1952 and 1968, Leith gradually progressed at the University of Michigan from his position as a research assistant to become a Professor within the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Leith received the 1968 IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Award, the 1979 National Medal of Science from President Jimmy Carter, and the 1985 Optical Society of America Frederic Ives Medal. He passed away on December 23, 2005 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.