Milestones-Nomination talk:Invention of Holography by Dennis Gabor

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Apyuste (talkcontribs)

Citation says that implementation of Holography had to wait the emergence of laser twenty years later. That means: 1947+20=1967. However, the first laser was successfully constructed in 1960, and the basic ideas were indeed rewarded by the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics. Then, my suggestion would be to modify that phrase as next: “…and had to wait the emergence of laser years later.”

Tonydavies (talkcontribs)

Omitting 'twenty' seems a good idea to me.

Implementation of holography surely did not happen immediately the laser was invented, it only became possible then.

So perhaps the actual use of lasers to make holograms was atv some later date (that someone can tell me)?

K3hz (talkcontribs)

As a corresponding member...  I agree with Tony about avoiding unecessary wording that could raise conflict later... could I offer a suggestion to replace

"emergence of the laser twenty years later."


"the the future invention of the Laser."

Feisel (talkcontribs)

I suggest "had to await the invention of the laser". The use of "await' implies future.

Juan Carlos (talkcontribs)

I've already given my support this nomination. If I understood it corrrectly, it recognizes a very significant, theoretical invention which was demonstrated much later. I also agree with the comments that have clarified the mention to the Laser in the citation.

My grain of sand is to point out that Denis Gabor was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1970 "For his ingenious and exciting discovery and verification of the principles of holography."

This other IEEE citation from 1970 says "discovery" and "verification" Does "discovering the principles of Holography" constitute an invention?


Feisel (talkcontribs)

That is an interesting question; did Volta discover that two metals separated by a brine-soaked blotter produced an emf (not yet defined) and verify that it did indeed do so or did he invent the voltaic pile? Probably either description would work.

In any event, a milestone doesn't have to be for an "invention. To quote from GHN

"Milestones recognize the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity found in unique products, services, seminal papers and patents."

This milestone qualifies in more than one of those definitions.

Jonathan Coopersmith (talkcontribs)

Discovery or invention - an argument for the patent lawyers.

The suggested wording changes definitely improve the citation -- nicely donne.

On the Supporting Materials

Apyuste (talkcontribs)

It is referred two key early Gabor’s papers in the development of Hologragy: one in Nature (1948), and another one in the Proceedings of the Royal Society (1949). However, this second paper was, indeed, the first part of a two-part work carried out by Gabor. The second part of that paper was published in 1951 in the Proceedings of the Physical Society. The reference is: "Microscopy by Reconstructed Wavefronts, part II”, Proc. Phys. Soc, Section B, Vol. 64, n. 6, pp 449-469, 1951 (doi:10.1088/0370-1301/64/6/301). Then, my recommendation would be to include this third paper as a supporting material too.

I.engelson (talkcontribs)

This is an interesting and well documented nomination. I learned a lot from it about things I new little about, particularly about the life of the inventor. The citation is reasonable and I support this nomination.

Irv Engelson

Feisel (talkcontribs)

I think this is a very good nomination. There seems to be a disconnect, however, between the milestone title on this site and the title as reported in the monthly milestone report. Which is the correct title?

Administrator4 (talkcontribs)

The titles given in the monthly milestone report are WORKING TITLES ONLY and may be a shortened version of the titles (which may be unwieldy). Also, titles change as they progress from the proposal to the point where the citation is being carefully edited.

Donhjohnson (talkcontribs)

I agree that this is an outstanding nomination. I think the title and citation are fine.

Lisetiffner (talkcontribs)

I agree with both the title and the citation wording. I look forward to this milestone's dedication. (talkcontribs)

I too agree this is a fine nomination. I support it fully.

    Mischa Schwartz
Juancarlos (talkcontribs)

This Nomination seems to be quite clear and the Citation also looks clear and concise; I also support it.

Tonydavies (talkcontribs)

I strongly support this nomination, and hope that it can be approved as soon as possible. Of course, you may say that I am biased, since I had a hand in its preparation, and the location is in my Section (UK&RI).

I did not think that there were significant doubts about Dennis Gabor's education, there is a lot written about it, and the comments by "appyuste" look correct to me.

What I could not find out for sure is whether he was invited to England to work for BTH, or whether he came and then found employment with them. Some of the available descriptions seem to differ over that.

Kawamoto (talkcontribs)

Though I had a general idea on how holograph works, I did not know where it had started. Now I know the idea was conceived as back as 1947. Writings in the Nomination are convincing enough for me and I support the Nomination.

Aside from the subject itself, learning Gabor was born in Hungary, it interesting to observe that the country of Hungary generates a line of innovative and very unique characters such as Andy Grove of Intel, George Solos the derivative operator in finance, and Peter Brody the inventor of TFT Active-Matrix LCD currently used throughout the world. Can anybody explain this?

Hiro Kawamoto

Tonydavies (talkcontribs)

The large number of contributions to culture and science, etc. by Hungarians has been remarked on and puzzled over by many people. The numbers seem disprortionally large in relation to the population of Hungary. This is perhaps somewhat 'off topic' for the Gabor Holography Milestone, but note that Gabor was one of many Hungarians who have been awared Nobel Prizes:

Lénárd Fülöp F 1905 Bárány Róbert O 1914 Zsigmondy Richárd K 1925 Szent-Györgyi Albert O 1937 Hevesy György K 1943 Békésy György O 1961 Wigner Jenô F 1963 Gábor Dénes F 1971 Wiesel, Elie B 1986 Polanyi, John C. K 1986 Oláh György K 1994 Harsányi János G 1994

O = élettani ill. orvosi (=medicine), F = fizikai (=physics), K = kémiai (=chemistry), B = béke (=peace), G = közgazdasági díj (=economics)

For an account of Hungarian inventions see:

A book with the title 'Made in Hungary, Hungarian contributions to universal culture' discusses in huge details the contributions of Hungarians to many aspects of Science, the Arts and the Humanities, written by Andrew L Simon.

This does not answer the question 'why so many?'

Some suggestions that have been made: 1. the Hungarian language is not Indo-European and so is very unlike the languages of any of the surrounding countries. It has a very different structure and this might have some impact. 2. Hungary created a very successful educational system, especially for music. 3. It is inherent in Hungarian that in 'classifying' almost everything, data items are listed in a sequence from the general to the particular, which is often not the case elsewhere, and this has some major advantages. Just as examples, a moment in time would be designated in the sequence year, month, day, hour, minute, second, and a location by country, town, street-name, house-number. Person names likewise start with the family name followed by the given name. (hence Dennis Gabor is rendered as Gábor Dénes in Hungary. Compare this with a common USA sequence of hour, minute, second, month, day, year. If the numbers in the Hungarian style moment in time are concatenated to make a single integer, that integer increases in magnitude continuously with the passage of time, whereas the USA style integer jumps up and down in magnitude. This gives some conceptual advantages to the Hungarian way, but additionally is a big advantage in computer programming, because 'before' and 'after' correspond simply to 'smaller' and 'larger'. Some people have claimed that this Hungarian style of categorisation gives them a 'head start' in a mathematics and science. Impossible to prove that, I suppose. Hungarian is in the Finno-Ugric language group, as a result of which it sounds a little like Finnish - but the theory of a common ancestry of Hungarians and Finns seems now to have been disproved by genetic investigations. It is said to have some structural similarities to Japanese.

MIcrosoft is said to have adopted Word and Excel as a result of leadership and persuasion by Charles Simonyi, another Hungarian, the son of a well-known professor of the same name who was distinguished for his outstanding teaching of Electromagnetic Theory.

(Final comment about Holography: best to avoid the word Holograph and always use Hologram instead, because Holograph also has the meaning of a handwritten manuscript written in by its author)

Tony Davies, 29 July 2012

Peterhill (talkcontribs)

In the second sentence, the word 'twenty' has been removed and replaced with 'some' in the newly edited Citation; the sentence now reads:

'........and had to await the emergence of the laser some years later.'

Date Gabor stared work at Imperial College, London

Peterhill (talkcontribs)

According to his auto-biography, Gabor started work at Imperial College on 1st January 1949.

Apyuste (talkcontribs)

I have found some information where it is said that Gabor was appointed Reader in Electron Physics at Imperial College in 1948. So, it would be good to find out whether Gabor moved to Imperial College that year or did it one year later, as said in the nomination.

About Gabor’s education, the nomination shows some doubts about it. Let me refer the information I have found: He attended Technical University of Budapest for a four year course in Mechanical Engineering (1918), then attended a course in Electrical Engineering at Technische Hochschule Berlin (1921) where was also awarded Doctorate (1927). In 1934 he went to England and was employed by the British Thomson Houston (BTH) Company in Rugby.

Tonydavies (talkcontribs)

Many sources report that Gabor was employed at Imperial College from 1949. There may have been collaboration between BTH and Imperial College prior to that, and so there could have been some joint research actions between Gabor at BTH and Imperial College from 1948. Where is the claim that he started employment at Imperial College in 1948?

About his education in Budapest, I do not think there is much doubt, except that I am uncertain about the length of study there.

He entered what later became Budapest Technical University in November 1918, and studied in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. At that time it was called the Joszef Technical University, which was founded as the Institum Geometrico-Hydrotechnicum in 1782. In 1918 there was no Electrical Engineering Faculty, and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering was responsible for the teaching of electrical subjects. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering was not established until 1949. From 1949, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering formally divided its education to include an Electrical Engineering Section, so it is sure that in the time Gabor was there, electrical subjects were taught within Mechanical Engineering.

The Hungarian wikipedia entry states:

"...... Novemberben beiratkozott a Magyar királyi József nádor Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem gépészmérnöki osztályába. 1919. május 24-én áttért az evangélikus vallásra. 1920-tól Berlinben folytatta tanulmányait a charlottenburgi Technische Hochschule elektromérnöki karán....."

gépészmérnök = mechanical engineer.

Magyar királyi József nádor Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem = name of the university adopted in 1934 ('technical and economic university') - so the Hungarian wikipedia entry is not quite correct, in so far as it uses a name which had not been adopted when Gabor was a student there, it was then just the Joszef Technical University.

I am unsure what is the relevance that he converted to the evangelical faith in 1919, but perhaps this has some connection with his subsequent move to Berlin (since Hungary was a predominantly Catholic country).

By starting in November 1918 and going to Berlin in 1920 (or 1921) he could not have studied a complete four year course in Budapest. (maybe the course on which he enrolled was a four year one, in which case presumably he did not complete it, unless he was so able that he could take the examinations after only two years - can someone confirm this?)

All the above questions are not so important as far as the Milestone, its title or its Citation are concerned, they do not imply any doubts about the suitabilty of the milestone.

Apyuste (talkcontribs)

The fact that Gabor was appointed Reader in Electron Physics at Imperial College in 1948 can be read in a document from the Imperial College Archive titled: "List of Papers and Correspondence of Dennis Gabor, 1900-1979", compiled by Jeanne Pingree. You can also find there an outline of Gabor's life. That document is available at:,%20Professor%20Dennis%20FRS%20catalogue%20of%20papers.pdf

Of course, all my comments do not imply any doubt about the well-deserved recognition to the Milestone.

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