Absorbing new subjects: holography as an analog of photography

Johnston, S.F. (2006) Absorbing new subjects: holography as an analog of photography. Physics in Perspective, 8(2), pp. 164-188. (doi:10.1007/s00016-006-0264-8)



Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00016-006-0264-8


I discuss the early history of holography and explore how perceptions, applications, and forecasts of the subject were shaped by prior experience. I focus on the work of Dennis Gabor (1900–1979) in England,Yury N. Denisyuk (b. 1924) in the Soviet Union, and Emmett N. Leith (1927–2005) and Juris Upatnieks (b. 1936) in the United States. I show that the evolution of holography was simultaneously promoted and constrained by its identification as an analog of photography, an association that influenced its assessment by successive audiences of practitioners, entrepreneurs, and consumers. One consequence is that holography can be seen as an example of a modern technical subject that has been shaped by cultural influences more powerfully than generally appreciated. Conversely, the understanding of this new science and technology in terms of an older one helps to explain why the cultural effects of holography have been more muted than anticipated by forecasters between the 1960s and 1990s.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:history of holography; history of photography; Emmett Leith; Yuri Denisyuk; Dennis Gabor; progress; positivism
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnston, Professor Sean
Authors: Johnston, S.F.
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Physics in Perspective
Publisher:Birkhaeuser Verlag
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2006 Birkhaeuser Verlag
First Published:First published in Physics in Perspective 8(2):164-188
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
339051Holography, holographers, and their historySean JohnstonCarnegie UK Trust (CARNEGIE)UNSPECIFIEDInterdisciplinary Studies
339052Holography, holographers, and their historySean JohnstonBritish Academy (BRIT-ACAD)SG-34511Interdisciplinary Studies
339053Holography, holographers, and their historySean JohnstonShearwater Foundation (SHEARWATER)UNSPECIFIEDInterdisciplinary Studies