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3-D day

21st century holography to be explored in MIT Museum forum
Charles M. Vest
Charles M. Vest
Photo / Justin Knight

Once the very symbol of the future (think of Star Trek's fantasy "holodeck"), holograms have become as commonplace as those 3-D symbols on your credit cards. An upcoming two-day forum at the MIT Museum will take holography back to the future with presentations on its potential when matched with digital technology.

The March 6 and 7 interdisciplinary forum, "Photons, Neurons and Bits: Holography for the 21st Century," will explore innovations in medical and biological applications of holography, plus the field's continuing impact on photography and art.

"Holography has gone digital, and with that has come the possibility of interaction between holography and many other technologies and fields of research," says Seth Riskin, MIT Museum manager and organizer of the forum. "Holography is like a seed that has been waiting for this soil."

MIT President Emeritus Charles Vest will give the keynote address on March 6 followed by a daylong series of presentations on March 7 by researchers from MIT and other institutions.

The presenters represent a broad body of work spanning physical, biological and digital realms, Riskin says. Several MIT researchers, including Aude Oliva, associate professor in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Antonio Torralba, the Esther and Harold Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, are scheduled to speak. A full list of presenters and their topics is posted on the event's web site at

The MIT museum has the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of holograms. The forum coincides with the museum's ongoing exhibition, "Luminous Windows: Holography for the 21st Century."

The forum will be held March 6, from 5-8 p.m., and March 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. Friday's keynote and reception are free and open to the public; registration required at Saturday's forum is free to the MIT community and $60 for the public.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 4, 2009 (download PDF).

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