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Light Waves and Lasers: A Short Narrated History of Holography

Last week we brought you inside the kooky but wonderful Holographic Studios in New York City. While we were there, we learned a whole lot about the history of hologram technology. It's a sprawling story with many facets—and also lasers.

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Holography's history traces all the way back to the 19th century and early color photographic experiments of Gabriel Lippman. But it really took shape in the mid-twentieth century, with experiments in microscopy, and eventually took off with the development of the laser.

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In the video above, Jason Sapan of the Holographic Studios gives us a crash course in how the shimmering 3D images came to be. It's more fascinating than any number of not-quite-hologram Tupacs could ever hope to be. [Holographic Studios / Facebook]

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DISCUSSION

sfmountainbiker
sfmountainbiker

Holograms were always a novelty of my youth in the '80's, but as I learned more about them I became utterly fascinated. I highly recommend skimming the book The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot for an interesting take on the universe. One of the more fascinating characteristics about holograms is that information is not stored point-for-point like we usually think of (such as data encryption for a jpeg), but rather all data is stored on all points of a hologram. This is a difficult concept to understand until you see how it works:

The book above draws some interesting parallels between this concept and the universe. Some go as far as saying the brain stores information holographically, since you can remove parts of the brain and the subject can still retain facts (the study in question here had a rat learn a maze, then they cut out sections of the brain one-by-one thinking they could isolate the part of the brain that stored this information, but the rat always retained the maze solution no matter what they cut out). This theory gets extrapolated into the universe, time, etc. etc. Very mind-bending stuff...