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Juris Upatnieks Edit Profile

educator , researcher , Optical engineer

Juris Upatnieks was American optical engineer. Achievements include patents in field. Recipient Holley medal, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1976, Inventor of the Year award, Association Advancement Invention and Innovation, 1976.


Upatnieks, Juris was born on May 7, 1936 in Riga, Latvia. Arrived in the United States, 1951. Son of Karlis and Eleonora (Jegers) Upatnieks.


He attended high school in Akron, Ohio, and studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Akron, where he was awarded a bachelor's degree in 1960. Thereafter he studied at the Institute of Science and Technology of the University of Michigan, where he earned a master's degree in Electrical Engineering in 1965.


In 1951 the family emigrated to the United States. From 1973 to 1993 he worked at the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan and was an Adjunct Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. There he taught a laboratory course in optics until 1996.

From 1993 to 2001 he was a consultant with Applied Optics in Ann Arbor. From 1996 to 2001 he was also a researcher with the faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Michigan. In 1964 he demonstrated, with Emmett Leith, the first three-dimensional holograms in the United States and together with Leith published a series of technical papers from 1962 to 1964.

As of 2009 Upatnieks holds 19 Among them is an holographic gunsight. He was named "Inventor of the Year" in 1976 by the American Association for the Advancement of Invention and Innovation. Upatnieks is holder or co-holder of twenty United States in the fields of holography and coherent radiation.


  • In 1975 he received the R. W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America and 1976 the Holley Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


  • Other Work

    • Contributor articles to professional journals.


Fellow: Latvian Academy of Sciences (Grand medal 1999, Walter Zapp prize 2007), Academy Society Austrums, Society Photographic Instrumentation Engineers (Robert Gordon award 1965), Optical Society of America (R. W. Wood prize 1975, Emmett N. Leith medal 2010), American Latvian Association.


  • Other Interests

    Avocations: camping, gardening, hiking.


Married Ilze Induss, July 13, 1968. Children: Ivars, Ansis.

Karlis Upatnieks

Eleonora (Jegers) Upatnieks

Ilze Induss

Ivars Upatnieks

Ansis Upatnieks