Peter and Arnold in Hawaii, 1979
Peter Nicholson, artist, inventor and pioneer of pulse laser holography died suddenly of a heart attack in Miami where he had gone to attend the Basel Art Fair. Peter became involved in holography after meeting Lloyd Cross in the early 70’s. He became director of the Smithsonian Holography Program at Brookhaven National Laboratories where he was the first artist to explore the possibilities of pulse portraiture. With Ana Maria Nicholson he founded the Center for Experimental Holography and moved it to the University of Hawaii. While there they made portraits of the Governor and other notables including Agnes Lum and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the 1980’s and 1990’s he was Founder and President of Holographics, Inc., a research and development company where he invented and produced a miniaturized portable pulse laser with an incorporated camera called the “Portraitist”. Later this camera was adapted for non-destructive testing of aircraft. He obtained over $600,000 in National Science Foundation grants to develop a miniature pulse laser using a new crystal praseodymium which he hoped would further the development of color holography. He held 10 U.S. patents.