February 27, 2024
dennis gabor

Dennis Gabor: Father of Holography

Dennis Gabor won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1971. His contributions were to develop a way of producing 3-dimensional images using holographic techniques.

Dennis Gabor was born in Budapest, Hungary on July 6th, 1900. Gabor studied and taught at various universities until he fled Europe during the second world war. He eventually made his way to Imperial College London and it was there he invented devices that could create 3-D images using what are now known as holographic techniques. 

Gabor’s invention has been used for a variety of purposes including medical diagnostic imaging and material science research among many others over the years. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1971 for his work with these technologies which had grown enormously since their initial inception.

About Dennis Gabor

Gabor is considered to be the founder of holography. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1971 for his work with these technologies which had grown enormously since their initial inception.

Life of Dennis Gabor

His Birth

He was born in Budapest, Hungary on July 6th, 1900 to parents Mihály and Ilona Gábor. His father was a journalist who worked with future Prime Minister Gyula Garbai at a weekly political newspaper. His interest in science came early through an aunt who trained as a teacher and took Dennis to lectures on optics and physics while he was still a child. She also gave him books by Justus von Liebig which heavily influenced his scientific interests later in life.

Gabor Education

Gabor attended gymnasium, a type of high school which was compulsory for Hungarian children and he graduated from there in 1919. He then went on to study engineering at the Technical University of Budapest where he studied electrical engineering, chemistry, physics and mathematics. He graduated with a BSc in 1923.

Personal life of Gabor

He married Marjorie Louise Butler in 1936 and the couple had three children together. One child died of polio before the age of one. In 1943, he fled to England because of his Jewish heritage and there he worked with the British war effort.


The Beginnings of His Career

Gabor began his career while still at university in 1920 working as a part-time test engineer at Tungsram Ltd., a company which made light bulbs and radio tubes. He worked there between 1920 and 1921, but was drafted into the army where he served as an artillery officer.

Gabor’s Career

Despite being interested in physics since his early teens his first job as a lecturer did not get him very far. He managed to get hired but it was only at the Technical University that he found a permanent position when he only had one student enrolled instead of three.

Research of Holography

Gabor worked on a type of technology called holography which was created as an extension to x-ray technology. Holography uses the same principle of x-ray imaging but in 3 dimensions instead of two. The technique involves projecting a light beam through a small hole in an object then using another smaller hole to project the image into another plate. The image can be seen with much greater clarity than a normal photograph because it uses the laws of physics to get multiple images from the same source.

Research of Gabor filter

Gabor was involved in finding a way to improve x-ray imaging. He found that a piece of plastic he called ‘Gabor’s filter’ could greatly improve the quality and clarity of x-ray images.

Research of Gabor limit

Gabor also worked on a way to improve the quality of radio transmissions. He found a way to get a better IQ (Intercept-Quality) which uses the amount of excess bandwidth available to transmit information. He also developed a noise reduction technique. Which has been used in all forms of digital transmission since, including modems and cell phones.

Research of Sodium Laser

Gabor was responsible for the first demonstration of a tunable laser in 1957. Contributing significantly to laser technology by determining its place in modern science research.

Research of Dennis Gabor Blobs

The Gabor blobs are a three dimensional image created by looking at a beam that has passed through an object on its way to a screen.

Research of Dennis Gabor transform

Gabor’s interest in the power of encoding information continued when he joined Philips Research Laboratories in 1933. Where he worked with his longtime friend George Pake. They developed a technique to transform images into binary code which is used for telecommunication for this technology to become practical.

Research of Dennis Gabor noise

Both Gabor and Pake were also involved in finding a way to reduce noise in x-ray images in order to improve their quality. They developed a method called ‘Gabor’s noise reduction’. Which was first used by medical professionals when they scanned the chest cavity of an individual. The technique has been used by the military, scientists, and even dentists over the years.

Awards and Honors

Before he actually won the Nobel Prize for Physics Gabor was awarded a number of international honors.

Election as Fellow of the Royal Society (1951)

Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

Member of the Hungarian Academy (1966)

Foreign Associate Member of American Academy (1965)

Head Professor in Holography Royal Institution, London.

Research Grant from Office of Naval Research (1965)

Honorary Doctorate from Carleton University, Canada.

Gabor’s Death and Legacy

Dennis Gabor died on February 9th, 1979 after suffering a heart attack while he was at home with his wife.

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