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Holograms are the stuff of science fiction -- most notably depicted in the first episode of Star Wars some 25 years ago, when R2-D2 emitted his “Help me, Obi-Wan” hologram of Princess Leia.  Reality has not fully kept up with science fiction, and the sophistication of the holograms in Star Trek, The Next Generation is still -- for the moment -- confined to the 23rd Century.  Up until recently, for example, holograms (according to <http://www.business2.com/articles/mag/0,1640,41314,00.html>, Business 2 magazine) “have been little more than second-rate gimmicks, thanks to the fact that holographically creating anything more than small, washed-out images has proved exceedingly expensive and time-consuming.”  Business 2 goes on to report that things are progressing, however.  

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In conventional holography, a laser beam is split in two, with one section shining directly at a large sheet of film and the other bouncing off the object in question before being rejoined with the first.  The first beam is considered the reference beam, and is modified by the interaction of the second beam.  “On the film, the overlapping beams etch patterns that contain enough information to render the entire image as seen from different angles. When you look at the developed film, each of your eyes sees a slightly different view of the image, providing the flawless 3-D illusion, and walking or moving your head to the side offers a side view, exactly as it would if the object were real.”  In addition, according to <http://www.holo.com/holo/book/book1.html#def>, “a hologram is distinct from a photograph in that the latter is a recording of a focused image, while a hologram is a recording of the “interference of laser light waves that are bouncing off the object with another coherent laser beam, i.e., a reference beam.”  

Holograms depend upon the interference of laser (aka light) beams as shown by the classic experiments of Thomas Young at the beginning of the nineteenth century, where light waves were allowed to defract and interfere with each other after passing through an array of slits.  Young’s experiments are some of the simplest experimentally, and most complex theoretically, inasmuch as physics has been working on the latter for almost two centuries.

 Meanwhile, a new technique in holograms is to use a digital image in place of the physical object.  According to Business 2 magazine, computers “convert a standard graphics file into a pattern displayed on a large, translucent LCD screen.  A laser then fires three different-colored beams through the screen. When the beams converge and hit a special film that can be quickly developed with ultraviolet light and heat, the image emerges in startlingly realistic 3-D detail.”  

Business 2 goes on to say, “Forget about Princess Leia and 3-D videoconferencing.  The future of holography is in designing cars, searching for oil, or building skyscrapers.”

Well, maybe.  The science fiction route seems to be a lot more interesting.   

Or even the state-of-the-art science route, as in David Bohm’s holographic universe!  

Meanwhile, for everything you wanted to know -- probably a lot more -- about the basics of holograms, see <http://www.holo.com/holo/book/book1.html#def>.  The site also includes information on Young’s Diffraction Experiments.  The latter is also one of the stars in Lothar Schäfer’s excellent book, In Search of Divine Reality; Science as a Source of Inspiration. Schäfer is the Wertheim Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Arkansas, so the book is not a light-weight romp.  His message, for example, is that “physical reality has, at its frontiers, all the aspects of a transcendent order.”  

Meanwhile, someone find Obi-Wan and tell him Princess Leia needs his help!  


Bruce Lee Effect         Consciousness         Creating Reality

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David Bohm         Illusions         The Brilliant Mind        Affirmation



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