Juris Upatnieks Papers

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Juris Upatnieks Papers

This online collection is part of a larger Juris Upatnieks manuscript collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the Juris Upatnieks papers, please consult the online finding aid.

Related materials may also be found in the Emmett N. Leith papers.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services.

University of Michigan scientist who helped to lay the foundations of holography, a photography technique that recreates the recorded objects with all of their three-dimensional optical properties. Materials in this digital repository include digitized versions of Upatnieks's laboratory notebooks from 1963 to 1982.

Juris Upatnieks was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1936. The family immigrated to the United States in 1951. Upatnieks received his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Akron in 1960 and Master of Science in Engineering, Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1965. Between 1960 and 1972 he worked at the University of Michigan Institute of Science and Technology Willow Run Laboratories, where he held positions from Research Assistant to Research Engineer. In the 1970s the Willow Run Laboratories became the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan, where Upatnieks continued working until 1993. In 1962 he and University of Michigan professor of Electrical Engineering and Willow Run Laboratories Research Associate Emmett Leith recorded the first transmission hologram of a two-dimensional object (a photographic transparency or slide). Leith and Upatnieks published the results of their work on holography in Fall 1963, publicizing it as “lensless photography.” They continued working on improvement of their technique using newly available laser to achieve coherence of light and clear three-dimensional holographic images. In December 1963 the first three-dimensional object was recorded. Results of their work in this area were presented in 1964 and caused renewed interest in coherent optics and holography, and their practical applications in medicine, optics, data storage, airline safety, space science, the military, the arts, among other fields. Upatnieks reflected on reviving the field of Holography in his work “Development of Holography: from November 1962 to January 1965” (1965)

Between 1973 and 1993 Upatnieks worked at the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan and was an Adjunct Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Michigan. From 1993 to 2001 he consulted as Senior Engineer for Applied Optics research and development laboratories in Ann Arbor, Mich. Throughout his professional life Upatnieks has collaborated on research projects with faculty members of the University of Michigan Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. Upatnieks has received twenty U.S. patents, for ten of which he is the sole inventor.

Juris Upatnieks is a fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA) and of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, and foreign member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. In 1975 Upatnieks was awarded the R. W. Wood Prize by the Optical Society of America. In 1976 he was named Inventor of the Year by the American Association for the Advancement of Invention and Innovation and received the Holly Medal of the American Mechanical Society. In 1999 the Latvian Academy of Science awarded him the Grand Medal for contributions in development of the principles of holography and for promoting its use. Upatnieks was awarded the Walter Cap Prize in 2007 from the Latvian Academy of Science and the Latvian Patent Office and Emmett N. Leith Medal in 2010 from the Optical Society of America. Juris Upatnieks is listed in Who’s Who in America.

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Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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