Page 16 - Untitled
P. 16

16 The Brain as Hologram 17

Three-dimensionality is not the only remarkable aspect of holo- 

grams. If a piece of holographic film containing the image of an apple 

is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be 

found to contain the entire image of the apple! Even if the halves are 

divided again and then again, an entire apple can still be reconstructed 

from each small portion of the film (although the images will get 

hazier as the portions get smaller). Unlike normal photographs, every

FIGURE 2. A piece of holographic film containing an encoded image. To the naked 

eye the image on the film looks nothing like the object photographed and is 
composed of irregular ripples known as interference patterns. However, when 

the film is illuminated with another laser, a three-dimensional image of the original 
object reappears.

FIGURE 3. The three-dimensionality of a hologram is often so eerily convincing 

that you can actually walk around it and view it from different angles. But if you 

reach out and try to touch it, your hand will waft right through it. ["Celeste 
Undressed." Holographic stereogram by Peter Claudius, 1978. Photograph by 

Brad Cantos, collection of The Museum of Holography. Used by permission]

small fragment of a piece of holographic film contains all the informa- 

tion recorded in the whole (see fig. 4)-*

This was precisely the feature that got Pribram so excited, for it 

offered at last a way of understanding how memories could be dis- 

tributed rather than localized in the brain. If it was possible for every 

portion of a piece of holographic film to contain all the information 

necessary to create a whole image, then it seemed equally possible for 

every part of the brain to contain all of the information necessary to 

recall a whole memory.

It should be noted that this astounding trait is common only to pieces of holographicfilm 

whose images are invisible to the naked eye. If you buy a piece of holographic film (or an 
object containing a piece of holographic film) in a store and can see a three-dimensional 
image in it without any special kind of illumination, do not cut it in half. You will only end 

up with pieces of the original image.

   14   15   16   17   18