5 June 1900|
Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary
|Died||8 February 1979
|Citizenship||Hungarian / British|
|Fields||Electrical engineering Physics|
|Institutions||Imperial College London
|Alma mater||Technical University of Berlin
Technical University of Budapest
|Doctoral students||Eric Ash|
|Known for||Invention of holography|
|Notable awards||Nobel Prize in Physics (1971)
IEEE Medal of Honor (1970)
|Spouse||Marjorie Louise Butler (m. 1936)|
Dennis Gabor CBE, FRS (original Hungarian name: Gábor Dénes; 5 June 1900 – 8 February 1979) was a Hungarian electrical engineer and physicist, most notable for inventing holography, for which he later received the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics.
He was born as Günszberg Dénes, into a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary, his family converted to Lutheranism, as the first-born son of Günszberg Bernát and Jakobovits Adél. Despite having a religious background, religion played a minor role in his later life and considered himself agnostic. 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. 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. 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. 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 on Recording of Transients in Electric Circuits with the Cathode Ray Oscillograph in 1927, and worked on plasma lamps.
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 Louise Butler, and they married in 1936. He became a British citizen in 1946, and it was while working at British Thomson-Houston that he invented holography, in 1947. He experimented with a heavily filtered mercury arc light source. 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. 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. Gabor published his theories of re-holography in a series of papers between 1946 and 1951.
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. 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 lifelong 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.
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. He received numerous awards besides the Nobel Prize.
Gabor died in a nursing home in South Kensington, London, on 8 February 1979. In 2006 a blue plaque was put up on No. 79 Queen's Gate in Kensington, where he lived from 1949 until the early 1960s.
- 1956 – Fellow of the Royal Society
- 1964 – Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
- 1964 – D.Sc., University of London
- 1967 – Young Medal and Prize, for distinguished research in the field of optics
- 1967 – Colombus Award of the International Institute for Communications, Genoa
- 1968 – The first Albert A. Michelson Medal from The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia
- 1968 – Rumford Medal of the Royal Society
- 1970 – Honorary Doctorate, University of Southampton
- 1970 – Medal of Honor of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- 1970 – Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
- 1971 – Nobel Prize in Physics, for his invention and development of the holographic method
- 1971 – Honorary Doctorate, Delft University of Technology
- 1972 – Holweck Prize of the Société Française de Physique
- Dennis-Gabor-Straße in Potsdam is named in his honor and is the location of the Potsdamer Centrum für Technologie.
- 2009 – Imperial College London opens Gabor Hall, a hall of residence named in his honor
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." 
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.
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.
- In David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, Hal suggests that "Dennis Gabor may very well have been the Antichrist."
- 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)
- Allibone, T. E. (1980). "Dennis Gabor. 5 June 1900-9 February 1979". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 26: 106. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1980.0004.
- Hubbard, Arthur T. (1995). The Handbook of Surface Imaging and Visualization. CRC Press, Inc. ISBN 0-8493-8911-9.
- "Dennis Gabor, 1900-1979". Nature 280 (5721): 431–433. 1979. doi:10.1038/280431a0. PMID 379651.
- Brigham Narins (2001). Notable Scientists from 1900 to the Present: D-H. Gale Group. p. 797. ISBN 9780787617530. "Although Gabor's family became Lutherans in 1918, religion appeared to play a minor role in his life. He maintained his church affiliation through his adult years but characterized himself as a "benevolent agnostic"."
- Johnston, Sean (2006). "Wavefront Reconstruction and beyond". Holographic Visions. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-19-857122-3.
- [Zsolt] (1999). "Optics by Hungarians". Fizikai Szemle 5: 202. Bibcode:1999AcHA....5..202Z. ISSN 0015-3257. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
- Wasson, Tyler; Gert H. Brieger (1987). Nobel Prize Winners: An H. W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary. H. W. Wilson. p. 359. ISBN 0-8242-0756-4.
- GB685286 GB patent GB685286, British Thomson-Houston Company, published 1947
- Xenakis, Iannis (2001). Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition 9th (2nd ed.). Pendragon Pr. pp. preface xiii. ISBN 1-57647-079-2.
- IEEE Global History Network (2011). "Dennis Gabor". IEEE History Center. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- "Blue Plaque for Dennis Gabor, inventor of Holograms". Government News. 1 June 2006. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "Franklin Laureate Database - Albert A. Michelson Medal Laureates". Franklin Institute. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
- "Dennis Gabor Award". SPIE. 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- "The Gabor Medal (1989)". Royal Society. 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- "Dennis Gabor's birth celebrated by Google doodle". London: The Telegraph. June 5, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
- Wallace, David Foster (1996). Infinite Jest (New York: Little, Brown and Co.): 12
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Dennis Gabor|
- Short biography
- Gabor's Nobel Prize lecture
- Nobel Prize presentation speech by Professor Erik Ingelstam of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences