Dennis Gabor was an electronic engineer, physicist and humanist. His inventions include holography and the flat television tube and he was awarded the CBE in 1970 and the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1971 for his contribution to the field of physics.
Gabor was born on the 5 June 1900 in Budapest, Hungary to Bertalan Gabor, engineer, and Adrienne Kalman (Gabor), actress. He was the eldest of three sons and in 1915, at the age of 15, Dennis and his brother George built an epidiascope, a Tesla coil and had experimented with x-rays. Despite this precocious talent, Gabor's entrance in to University was delayed by a term of compulsory military service during which he was posted to Italy.
When he returned in 1918, he attended Technical University in Budapest to study mechanical engineering and, in 1921, he went on to study electrical engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin where he obtained the Diplom-Arbeit. Following the award of a doctorate in Engineering in 1927 for his work on transient waveforms, Gabor gained employment at Siemens and Halske in Berlin.
In 1934, following the election of Hitler, Gabor came to England where he worked for the British Thomson Houston Company and married Marjorie Butler who also worked at BTH. Here he continued with his work on the plasma state as well as on electron beam properties in lamps, television tubes, electron microscopes and 3-D cinema image projection.
Gabor's brother, André, whom Gabor often referred to as Bandi, came to England in 1938, where he remained due to impending war in Europe, and where he and Dennis published mathematics and social science papers together thoughout the 1950s. Dennis Gabor became a naturalised British citizen in 1946.
Dennis Gabor was appointed Reader in Electron Physics at Imperial College, London in 1948 and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (F.R.S.) in 1956. In 1958 he was appointed to personal Chair of Applied Electron Physics at Imperial College where he remained until his retirement in 1967. Gabor continued to work, after his retirement from Imperial College, as a part time consultant for CBS Laboratories in Connecticut.
Dennis Gabor died on 9 February 1979 in South Kensington.