"Building Bridges with Light"
In memoriam of Yu. N. Denisyuk
10th International Symposium on Display Holography
28 June - 3 July, 2015, St. Petersburg

Yuri Nikolaevich DENISYUK

1927 - 2006

World-famous scientist, one of the pioneers of holography, inventor of white light reflection holography, professor, member of Russian Academy of Sciences.

Yu. Denisyuk was born July 27, 1927 in Sochi. He came face to face with the Great Patriotic War (World War II) as a young boy at the age of 14 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and withstood all the deprivations and horrors resulting from the blockade of Leningrad. After graduating of 7th class, he entered machine-building college and then the department of physics and engineering at the Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics (now ITMO University). After graduation from the Institute in 1954, Yu. Denisyuk began his scientific career at the S. I. Vavilov State Optical Institute, where he worked for 52 years and made his major discoveries in the field of holography. He was also head of the holographic laboratory at the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Science (1988), and a professor at the University ITMO.

Yu. Denisyuk began his scientific quest to record standing waves in 1958, having been inspired by I. Efremov's fantastic science-fiction story "Star ships" and the ingenious accomplishments of Nobel Prize winner, G. Lippman in the field of the color interferential photography. He successfully recorded his first hologram and described it in his diary on the 3rd of December in 1959.  This date is now considered the birthday of holography in volume media. Back in that day, the laser era had not yet arrived, and even hе could not imagine that coherent sources of light were on the horizon.  It was his expectation that coherent light sources were perhaps 50 years in the future.

Yu. Denisyuk's discovery opened a new direction in optics - display holography.  Monochrome light passes through a transparent photographic plate and is reflected off an object behind the plate.  The reflected light produces a volume interferential pattern, which is recorded in the photographic emulsion on the plate. After processing, the photographic plate diffracts white light and reconstructs the amplitude, phase and spectral content of the light that was reflected off the object. This is the Denisyuk method and the hologram is called Denisyuk's hologram.

Yu. Denisyuk's accomplishments and awards are as voluminous as they are impressive.  He was awarded the highest honor of the USSR in 1970, the Lenin prize, for a series of works, Holography in volume media.  The Soviet government also awarded him the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1988 and the Order of the Badge of Honor in 1975.  But not only the USSR bestowed honors; Yu. Denisyuk was also awarded many international honors and prizes, among them: "Intercamera" (1971); SPIE (D.Gabor premium, 1983); OSA (R.Wood premium, 1992); honorary membership in the Royal Photographic Society (UK) along with a silver medal; and an honorary doctor's degree from the University De Monfort (UK).

Over the period of time from 1974 until 1983, Yu. Denisyuk developed the principles of "dynamic holography", i.e., when the hologram is recorded in nonlinear media and the image of the interference pattern is registered in real time. For this work, he and a group of authors were awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1982. For his contribution to the development of systems of holographic radar signal processing, he was again awarded the State Prize in 1989.

Yu. N. Denisyuk's influence and his contributions to optics and holography extend throughout the world.  He not only conducted his own scientific research, but in addition he organized and led numerous domestic and foreign seminars, conferences and schools on holography.  He was honorary chairman of ISDH in Lake Forest (Illinois, USA) and other conferences on display holography all over the world.  As chairman of the board on holography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he organized many major scientific research projects.  He directly managed a large scientific school in Russia that has trained over 100 PhDs who now work in research and production organizations all over Russia and the rest of the world.

Yu. N. Denisyuk's ingenious approach to the science of holography and his creative innovations in holographic methodology brightly reflect his extraordinary character and the grand scale of his personality.  Efremov and  Lippman's fantastic notion of reproducing three-dimensional apparitions of natural objects awakened in Yuri Denisyuk an enduring thirst for knowledge about light and the use of volume holography to display natural phenomena, and how our eyes and brains perceive reality in the world around us.

Everyone who had the good fortune to know Yuri Denisyuk and work with him recognized that he was a sincere and gracious gentleman, devoted to the ideals of science.

  Design: Department of Engineering and Computer Graphics, ITMO University