The Off-Axis Holography sculpture, located on North Campus between the University of Michigan Engineering Research and Gerstacker buildings, is intended to celebrate U-M’s achievements in holography. Created by Jens Zorn, professor emeritus of physics, and built by David Carter of the LSA Scientific Instrument Shop, the stainless steel sculpture celebrates breakthrough developments in holography by two U-M scientists.
The essence of holography is that two separate beams of light are combined to produce a three dimensional image, the view of which depends on the position of the observer. Its origin dates from 1947, but holography remained a laboratory curiosity until 1962 when Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks of the University of Michigan developed their off-axis method that transformed holography to an important tool of modern science and engineering. In analogy, the sculpture celebrating their development, Off-Axis Holography, combines two arrays to generate a crossing pattern that changes depending on the position of the observer.
Professor Emeritus Zorn is also the sculptor of G minus 2 and The Short, Rich Life of Positronium, each located on U-M’s Central Campus. Learn more about his many other diverse and intriguing works of art on his sculpture website.
Professor Emeritus Jens C. Zorn’s interest in sculpture began in 1996 when he offered to make The Short, Rich Life of Positronium, a piece to commemorate the work of Arthur Rich (1937-1990), a member of the Michigan physics faculty renowned for his research on positrons and positronium who passed away while still at the height of a brilliant career. The success of that sculpture led to commissions for works that are more fully described on his website.