Juris Upatnieks

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Juris Upatnieks
Born (1936-05-07) 7 May 1936 (age 86)
Alma materUniversity of Akron
University of Michigan
Known forCo-inventor of holography
AwardsR. W. Wood Prize (1975)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Michigan

Juris Upatnieks (born 7 May 1936 in Riga) is a Latvian-American physicist and inventor, and pioneer in the field of holography.

Upatnieks fled the Latvia with his parents at the close of World War II, seeking asylum in Germany. In 1951 the family emigrated to the United States. He attended high school in Akron, Ohio, and studied electrical engineering at the University of Akron, where he was awarded a bachelor's degree in 1960. Thereafter he studied at the Institute of Science and Technology of the University of Michigan, where he earned a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1965. From 1973 to 1993 he worked at the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan and was an Adjunct Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. There he taught a laboratory course in optics until 1996. From 1993 to 2001 he was a consultant with Applied Optics in Ann Arbor. From 1996 to 2001 he was also a researcher with the faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Michigan.

In 1964 he demonstrated, with Emmett Leith, the first three-dimensional holograms in the United States and together with Leith published a series of technical papers from 1962 to 1964.

As of 2009 Upatnieks holds 19 patents. Among them is an holographic gunsight.[1]

In 1975 he received the R. W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America and 1976 the Holley Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was named "Inventor of the Year" in 1976 by the American Association for the Advancement of Invention and Innovation. He is a member of the Optical Society and of International Society for Optical Engineering, as well as a member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, whose Great Medal he received in 1999.


Upatnieks is holder or co-holder of twenty United States Patents in the fields of holography and coherent radiation.

Subject Year
U.S. Patent 3,506,327 Wavefront Reconstruction Using a Coherent Reference Beam 1970
U.S. Patent 3,532,407 Spatial Frequency Reduction in Holography 1970
U.S. Patent 3,539,241 Method of Imaging Transparent Objects with Coherent Light 1970
U.S. Patent 3,545,835 Two-Beam Holography with Reduced Source Coherence Requirements 1970
U.S. Patent 3,548,643 Holographic Vibration Analysis Method and Apparatus 1970
U.S. Patent 3,580,655 Wavefront Reconstruction 1971
U.S. Patent 3,637,313 Method of Imaging Transparent Objects with Coherent Light 1972
U.S. Patent 3,677,617 Technique of Holographic Data Reduction Utilizing an Additional Diffusing Structure During Reconstruction 1972
U.S. Patent 3,748,048 Method of Detecting Changes in Specular Surface 1973
U.S. Patent 3,838,903 Wavefront Reconstruction 1974
U.S. Patent 3,894,787 Holograms 1975
U.S. Patent 4,012,150 Holographic Light Line Sight 1977
U.S. Patent 4,057,317 Hologram Projector 1977
U.S. Patent 4,223,975 Aberration Correction of Magnified Holographic Images 1980
U.S. Patent 4,277,137 Coherent Optical Correlator 1981
U.S. Patent 4,643,515 Method and Apparatus for Recording and Displaying Edge-Illuminated Holograms 1987
U.S. Patent 4,711,512 Compact Head-Up Display 1987
U.S. Patent 5,151,800 Compact Hologram Displays and Methods of Making Compact Hologram 1992
U.S. Patent 5,483,362 Compact Holographic Sight 1996
U.S. Patent 6,674,521 Optical Method and System for Rapidly Measuring Relative Angular Alignment of Flat Parts 2004


  1. ^ U.S. Patent 5,483,362 — Compact holographic sight (Issued Jan. 9, 1996)