In 1967, R.W. Lawrence and I reported the first case of detection of a hologram and reconstruction of the corresponding image by purely electronic means. The detector was a rather poor-quality vidicon and the image was reconstructed using the fast Fourier transform algorithm, which had become widely known only two years earlier. In this paper I review this simple experiment, but more importantly I discuss the circumstances that led to the experiment in the first place. This and many other ideas that arose in this time period were motivated by the desire to form images of actively illuminated satellites orbiting overhead, free from the disturbing effects of the Earth’s atmosphere.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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