Who is Frank DeFreitas?
Frank "Pop Pop" DeFreitas and the Princess of Dutch Wonderland in 2015.
My name is Frank DeFreitas. For over thirty years, I have provided laser and hologram presentations, workshops and outreach programs. I am now officially "semi" retired, which means retired ... but I am still active "here and there" with presentations, speaking engagements, and welcoming guests from around the world to my home holography studio and historical archives in Allentown, PA, USA.
Since 1983, my past clients include: The Smithsonian Institution, Wash. D.C. (The Hirshhorn Museum & Ripley Education Center); The Franklin Institute, Phila; Stevens Institute of Technology; Liberty Science Center, NJ; The Discovery Center of Science and Technology, PA; Lehigh University Physics Dept.; University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; Mensa; California Institute of Technology (CalTech/JPL); Northampton Community College; Lehigh-Carbon Community College; Allentown Art Museum; Rodale Press; WFMZ-TV; NASA / Northrop Grumman; Georgian Court University Physics Dept.; AT&T; Lucent Technologies; U.S. Navy; Fuji Film Corp.; Dupont; the Urban Systemic Initiative (NSF); and many elementary, middle and high schools. National Science Foundation-funded programs; scouts; home school groups; corporate events; birthday parties; and teaching the very first online class for holography through America On Line in 1995.
I am an elected member of Sigma-Pi-Sigma; the National Physics Honor Society; American Institute of Physics; for my work in laser and holography educational programs.
I was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1956. Fortunately, living in the Philadelphia / South Jersey region placed me in a prime location for the earliest days of lasers and holography (Edmund Scientific; Franklin Institute; Metrologic Laser; Holex Corp.; more). I saw my first laser hologram in 1968, attended my first holography exhibit in 1976, designed and built my own laser and holography studio in 1983, and started my world-famous HoloWorld web site in 1995. I began as a kid, and after an entire lifetime there is plenty more to say. But for now I'll just say that sooner or later in your own journey in holography, no matter where you are in the world, you will eventually come across "Frank DeFreitas".
After 60 years on Earth, and after a lifetime of all sorts of human experiences (including the interaction with tens of thousands of people from all around the world), I can say that I have become, and can be best described as an "old-school right wing, conservative, anti-communist / pro-capitalist, Biblical 'Victory in Christ' activist".
With my early computer / analog hybrid laser hologram, 1985.
Celestial Navigator Star Tracking Device.
My 30+ years in holography have been divided into 15 years part-time and 15-years+ full time. I was both a hologram producer and a holography instructor. My history is with traveling outreach: I would take my laser and holography educational programs on the road. Back then, one would find many outreach persons traveling from one area of the country to another, visiting schools, galleries, museums and festivals. I've presented to hundreds of thousands of people over my 30+ years. I could be in a university laser research laboratory one day, under an outdoor festival tent the next, and appearing at a kids birthday party on another. My smallest event was three people, my largest event was seventy thousand. As the saying goes, I've been "around the block" with lasers and holography in my lifetime.
My "best days" were the early 1980's through the mid 1990's. That is over thirty years ago now. It was very different back then for us old timers. Back then, you *had* to exhibit your work and have people come out to see it in person. Today, everything is 2D digital photos on the internet: make the hologram in the lab and then put a photo of it up on a web page. Of course, today everybody is calling everything a "hologram", so they have come up with different ways of displaying the 3D image. I miss the physical exhibits that people would come out and see in person. I also miss the interaction. But, hey, its a free country and if a lot of people accept holography through photos and social media interaction on a screen that is their business, and if they like it, fine.
As a side note, I am one of the very few people on Earth to have their name on the surface of another heavenly body: Titan, the great moon of Saturn (Cassini / Huygens mission). My entry reads "My name is Frank DeFreitas and I create three-dimensional laser holograms on Earth". This info is contained on a CDROM in a sealed chamber inside the space craft lander, which landed safely and is sitting on the surface of Titan to be recovered some day in the future.
In my Allentown holography lab, 1983.
Although I am not in possession of a Ph.D., I have gotten many who are out of a tight spot over the years. I have a technical education. My background is in printing technologies, and I am a graduate of the Philadelphia School of Printing and Advertising (with a focus on typography, typesetting and graphic design / prepress). Never underestimate the power of print, whether on paper or online. Print is the most influential and powerful human-created force in the world, and it is where I have always wanted to be. Not surprisingly, it is where I am, since I consider holography to be yet another form of communication technology. I have designed and built my own lasers, optical equipment, and have formulated my own processing chemistry and production methods. My work is truly, and literally, my own.
Although lasers and holography can be distilled to their most basic form as science (primarily physics), this physical sciences reference is of popular value no more than that of the very early printing press or linotype (both of which would fall under the heading of mechanical physics). Neither the printing press nor the linotype machine would be an initial thought if one would think physics / science of today. Likewise, the optical mathematics of a simple camera system would fill a volume, yet many take breathtaking photographs whether comprehending the formulae or not at all. The same will hold true for lasers and holography as time moves on. Both will one day be thought of strictly (and simply) as tools to get the job done: lasers to make the holograms, and holograms to provide the images. I know this because I am already there: I was not professionally trained as a scientist, nor as an artist. I make holograms, therefore I am a holographer.
1980's video by now President of ABC Television Stations Group Rebecca Campbell.
(Above Photo Montage): Rebecca Campbell, President of ABC Television Stations Group in NYC, got her start here in Allentown (she was Rebecca Funk at WFMZ TV 69 back then). At the beginning of her career, one of the first stories she produced was showcasing my work with lasers and holograms for a local TV "magazine" called Cover to Cover. I introduced her to the larger holography sphere at the time, and we traveled in to NYC with a crew to interview then director of the New York Museum of Holography, Posy Jackson, and holographic artist Dan Schweitzer. I also suggested the background music in the video (which she used). Little did anyone know at the time (including me) that she would become one of the most powerful media executives in the world today. She was great to work with (from what I remember from 30+ years ago).
In 2015, I will be 59 years old and I have been married for 38 years. My wife and I have 3 grown daughters, all involved in science and medicine. I have had my private studio and reference library / exhibit room in my downtown historic Allentown, PA home for 32 years. People travel from around the world to visit, to learn, or to just say hello (please call first). As we enter our twilight years, my wife has now joined me in the lab, as we collaborate and produce our own hologram special projects. Our most recent project (2015) focuses primarily on ancient Biblical artifacts that document the events recorded in the Holy Bible.
In 2010, I gave my life over to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Shortly thereafter, while in prayer, I was given a vision and calling to begin researching and developing futuristic laser-based technological applications for Christian evangelism. The objectives for my work are four fold: (1) to help reach those persons in areas of the world where more traditional evangelistic methods are dangerous, even life threatening (stealth laser technology); (2) to research archival recording methods for Scripture and historical artifacts (3D laser holograms); (3) to one day communicate the Gospel to, from, and between human colonies on the Moon, Mars and beyond (free space laser communication); (4) to prepare youth for future evangelism, utilizing (and further developing) these new technologies. Even if all I do is provide the catalyst for other development by someone else, it is my honor to be in His service and to do so.
Presenting lasers and holography at a school in 1983.
My own personal philosophy / quote is this: "Science is the study of the physical manifestations of God in action". I believe in Creation as documented in the first book of Moses, Genesis. I do not believe that science and God are at odds with each other at all. With science, we gain knowledge and wisdom about God's Creation, and as a result, grow closer in our walk with Him. It is my belief that "science will one day catch up with the Word of God … not the other way around". It is your choice to believe or not believe. Ultimately -- and with absolute certainty -- no one is going to escape finding out. Tick, tock …
Today in 2015, after a lifetime in holography as the real life "Holo-Man".