Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology

By Lance Day; Ian McNeil | Go to book overview

G

Gabor, Dennis (Dénes)

b. 5 June 1900 Budapest, Hungary

d. 9 February 1979 London, England


Hungarian (naturalized British) physicist, inventor of holography.

Gabor became interested in physics at an early age. Called up for military service in 1918, he was soon released when the First World War came to an end. He then began a mechanical engineering course at the Budapest Technical University, but a further order to register for military service prompted him to flee in 1920 to Germany, where he completed his studies at Berlin Technical University. He was awarded a Diploma in Engineering in 1924 and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering in 1927. He then went on to work in the physics laboratory of Siemens & Halske. He returned to Hungary in 1933 and developed a new kind of fluorescent lamp called the plasma lamp. Failing to find a market for this device, Gabor made the decision to abandon his homeland and emigrate to England. There he joined British Thompson-Houston (BTH) in 1934 and married a colleague from the company in 1936. Gabor was also unsuccessful in his attempts to develop the plasma lamp in England, and by 1937 he had begun to work in the field of electron optics. His work was interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1939, although as he was not yet a British subject he was barred from making any significant contribution to the British war effort. It was only when the war was near its end that he was able to return to electron optics and begin the work that led to the invention of holography. The theory was developed during 1947 and 1948; Gabor went on to demonstrate that the theories worked, although it was not until the invention of the laser in 1960 that the full potential of his invention could be appreciated. He coined the term 'hologram' from the Greek holos, meaning complete, and gram, meaning written. The three-dimensional images have since found many applications in various fields, including map making, medical imaging, computing, information technology, art and advertising. Gabor left BTH to become an associate professor at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in 1949, a position he held until his retirement in 1967. In 1971 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on holography.


Principal Honours and Distinctions

Royal Society Rumford Medal 1968. Franklin Institute Michelson Medal 1968. CBE 1970. Nobel Prize for Physics 1971.


Bibliography
1948. 'A new microscopic principle', Nature 161:777 (Gabor's earliest publication on holography).
1949. 'Microscopy by reconstructed wavefronts', Proceedings of the Royal Society A197: 454-87.
1951, 'Microscopy by reconstructed wavefronts II', Proc. Phys. Soc. B, 64:449-69.
1966, 'Holography or the “Whole Picture”', New Scientist 29:74-8 (an interesting account written after laser beams were used to produce optical holograms).

Further Reading
T.E. Allibone, 1980, contribution to Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 26: 107-47 (a full account of Gabor's life and work).

JW


Gains Plinius Secundus

See Pliny the Elder.


Galilei, Galileo

b. 15 February 1564 Pisa, Italy

d. 8 January 1642 Arcetri, near Florence, Italy


Italian mathematician, astronomer and physicist who established the principle of the pendulum and was first to exploit the telescope.

Galileo began studying medicine at the University of Pisa but soon turned to his real interests, mathematics, mechanics and astronomy. He

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Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • How to Use the Dictionary xiii
  • A 1
  • B 33
  • C 122
  • D 187
  • E 228
  • F 247
  • G 277
  • H 315
  • German Organic Chemist. 347
  • I 368
  • J 374
  • K 391
  • L 412
  • Bibliography 418
  • M 451
  • N 513
  • O 528
  • P 535
  • Q 582
  • R 583
  • S 619
  • T 689
  • U 721
  • V 722
  • W 734
  • X 778
  • Y 779
  • Z 785
  • Index by Subject Area 790
  • Index of Topics 808
  • Index of Names 823
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