Editor’s note – Jean-Marc Fournier

The memory of Professor Steve Benton has been commemorated in many magazines, scientific journals, and in the general press. Steve Benton was a teacher, an inventor, an entrepreneur and a scientist. His tremendous skill as a communicator generated numerous interactions that often led to massive cross-alliances among people in the many communities with which he was involved.

One of the communities in which Steve was extraordinarily active and astonishingly influential is the world of holography. Kaveh has proposed a new way to celebrate Steve Benton’s life and career, where anyone who knew Professor Benton could post some shared memories on this web site, under the sole condition that the writings be reviewed and accepted by the editors, i.e. yours truly and Andy Pepper.

What will come out of this sort of virtual memorial wall is obviously not clear. At the very least, this website provides a forum for people to contribute their personal memories of Steve. Moreover, this virtual memorial wall would allow friends and colleagues to recollect moments shared with Steve and perhaps reflect on some of Steve’s special personal qualities that affected all of us.

Contributions should be short, and, obviously courteous. Contributors should not attempt to use this memorial to try to frame a complete or definitive vision of Steve’s achievements.

Many documents have already contributed to celebrate Steve’s influence on science, on research, on technology, and on people. Steve himself participated in the framing of the “BentonVision” event so well organized at MIT on November 11, 2003. Steve meant this event to be a shared gift for all of us. The very essence of what should be said and remembered in this website has also been written by his wife, Jeanne Benton, in the SPIE issue of Practical Holography dedicated to Steve Benton (Proceeding vol. # 5290). Recently I spoke with Jeanne about what she thought the essence of a memorial website should reflect. “The real memorial already exists”, she said, “Steve’s students and colleagues living interesting and challenging lives in science is the best memorial Steve could have. What the website might contribute is an opportunity for the community at large to come together. Steve would have really liked that.”

Let’s keep this in mind when you submit a note for the web site.

Jean-Marc Fournier

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