by Polly Warfield

Note: this article was published a quarter of a century before the recent Scientific American (Aug. 2003) Cover Story “Are You A Hologram? (Quantum physics says the entire universe might be)” [quote by Allen from this article: A “whole new science of technology with undreamed of potential,” it ventures also into the realm of metaphysics, as you might have gathered. “is the universe a hologram? Am I a hologram?” asks Jeff and does not pause for an answer.]

THE FUTURE is here now, says Jeff Allen, smiling gently I his quiet and rather whimsical way.

The future has sprung full blown from a laser beam, like Minerva full grown from the head of Jove. It shimmers like rainbow, beckons like the horizon. You can see it in a hologram, a seeable, touchable, wearable aspect of holography.

Jeff Allen is a holography expert, admittedly “obsessed” with holography. He wears a favorite hologram on a chain around his neck. Al first glance it seems to be a crystal-clear pendant. The light changes and refracts, and it is not a clear crystal at all, but a three-dimensional, iridescent pyramid, tantalizingly shifting, moving, changing. You could fall into a trance looking at it.

A hologram is fascinating, hypnotic, awe-inspiring. Why not? For far from being simply a piece of pretty jewelry, it is the future you’re holding in your hand — something that is “beginning to change the technology of the ’70 much the way Einstein’s theory of relativity changed conventional physics.”

The word hologram means analyzing its two Greek roots, “whole message.” Its theory was discovered in 1947 by Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr. Dennis Gabor as he worked with his electron microscope seeking a way to picture the atom. Gabor didn’t fully appreciate what he had found, because until the laser beam was invented in 1960, no one could see a hologram.

“And then I was my first hologram. It was the first thing in my life I had not pre-conceived. It jerked me, shocked me; I thought I was crazy.”

He talks about holography with the zeal of a missionary. “Holograms create 25 million prisms per square inch. Holography makes it possible to encompass all human history o a sugar cube, size-wise. It opens a whole new science of optics, makes possible a new way to make lenses, the first improvement in the field since Galileo. You can have flat binoculars, flat telescopes – the methods are patented but still on the shelf. Possibilities ophthalmics are revolutionary. Acoustical holography will make it possible in time to see inside a person without X-ray.”

The Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas is of holographic plexiglass. In point-of-purchase advertising, holography offers eye-catching moving cylinders” men smoking, girls blowing kisses, on “3-D-TV.”

In computer storage it can condense 10 billion bits of information into a square inch. (“Obviously, the trouble with that is the density, trying to get the technology to retrieve it.”)

We’re on the threshold of an “expanded cinema” through holography – on the threshold of who knows what? “Reality will cease to be relevant,” says Jeff enthusiastically, “We’ll enter a state of cosmic consciousness…We’re starting to deal with space that’s not there. We’re not only into the fourth dimension, but the fifth and sixth as wee, if you want to get into there.”

Almost all TV series have used holographic plots during the past year, Jeff notes. The hit movie Star Wars used the concept throughout.

It is employed in record master, in album covers. The new Roger Daltrey on a pendant. Daltrey himself has put money I a laser equipment company. The Who has invested a quarter of a million in lasers and holography. Holography is very big in the rock music world.

A “whole new science of technology with undreamed of potential,” it ventures also into the realm of metaphysics, as you might have gathered. “is the universe a hologram?” Am I a hologram?” asks Jeff and does not pause for an answer.

Do people understand holography? “Well, technology yes – but a lot of people don’t understand eyesight, know what I mean?”

It’s not even necessary to understand it anyway, he continues. While pictures are interpreted symbols, a hologram is a direct, precise means of communication. An infant is born with ability to read a hologram immediately, while to the baby words and pictures are utterly obscure.

“What do you want to see, what do you want to say?” muses Jeff. “We’re kinda back to reality now.”

So, reality-wise and into the future, Jeff and his holograms will be displayed a a place called Mind Your Head, 9052 Woodman in Arleta, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2 to 3 p.m. Or for more information you may call Laser-Vision at 851-5230.