NIL ABRAMSON
Holographic Viking

Photo Credit:Melissa Crenshaw

Nils in Flight, TJ's house, Summer 1982

After a few cold beers on a hot Lake Forest summer afternoon with Hans Bjelkhagen, Lennart Svenson, and Jonny Gustafson of LaserGruppen Holovision, I naively asked, "You guys are all descended from Vikings, aren't you?" and they all looked at each other, and laughed, "not us, but Nils is!"

TJ regarded him as a clever fellow, aven adopting him as his twin brother separated at birth. (They were both born in the same year, 1931.) And if you ever read his books, you will also hold him in that regard. (The Making and Evalustion of Holograms, ISBN 0-12-042820-2, and, Light in Flight or The Holo-Diagram, The Columbi Egg of Optics, ISBN 0-8194-2107-3. If you find a copy of the former autographed with a Best Regards to Ed Wesly, let me know as some scurvy knave ripped mine off! I will trade you for a different copy.)

They are not elementary books, but they are not graduate level either. You do need to have some experience with the holographic process to really appreciate what he is doing in getting you to understand somethng complex.

There is a punk-ass physicist troll who haunts the holographic forums and has a problem with artists who nod their heads not due to drowsiness but in accord when Nils is on the stage.  “If they hear <famous person> say something technical, they feel a sense of awe that they're hearing <famous person> say something they don't understand...But the artists lapped it up though, without understanding a word!”

But they can understand it, as Nils is the master of analogy!  The preface to The Making and Evaluation of Holograms sums up his teaching philosophy:

How sweetly succinct!

Which is certainly the exact opposite of the one who shall remain nameless who whips out equations at the drop of a hat!

Here is a paper that shows Nils having fun!

When I saw his results of the experiment at the Millennial Symposium on Display Holography in 2000, I asked him if KTH were the initials of his girlfriend, as I couldn’t figure out what the letters were an acronym for, but he said it was the initials of the Royal Institute of Technology in Swedish!