Compiled by Friends and Colleagues
Lou Silverstein, a leader and innovator of flat-panel-display technology, passed away unexpectedly working at his desk in his home office in Scottsdale, AZ, on the evening of May 1, 2012. Lou is survived by his wife of 39 years, Marla Silverstein, and his sister, Michele Endich.
Lou was well known to many in the display industry for his pioneering work on pixel layouts, anti-aliasing and tone scale, viewing-angle performance, color control and reconstruction, smooth motion, flicker, and sunlight legibility. He was a leading advocate for optimizing displays based on human-visual-system characteristics. Lou developed predic-tive models of display performance that directly linked engineering tradeoffs to human-vision and perception science. He was known to his many friends as an insightful, funny, and engaging colleague. His deep insights and the humor he used to convey them will be missed.
Lou received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Florida. In his dissertation research, he applied psycho-physiological methods to study repetition and distribution effects on memory. He received his doctorate degree in 1977. For the next 2 years, Lou conducted research on psycho-physiological correlates of memory, attention, and sleep processes as an NIH Post-Doctoral Scholar at the University of Wisconsin. Lou then joined Rockwell International beginning his long career in information display.
At Rockwell, Lou began a research program on the human factors of avionic displays. He continued this work a year later at the Boeing Airplane Company where he worked with a team of engineers developing the first aircraft "glass" cockpit using electronic color displays to replace mechanical avionic gauges. Lou's work in determining the visual requirements and measurement criteria for the displays drove the development of the Electronic Flight Instrument System color-CRT hardware and display specifications and lead to the certification of CRTs on the 767 in 1982. Much of this work was captured in technical documents still referenced by the industry today. For this work, Lou was awarded the Alexander C. Williams, Jr., Award from the Human Factors Society in 1993 and a SID Special Recognition Award in 2004.
In 1983, Lou joined General Physics and shortly thereafter the Sperry/Honeywell Corporation's Technology Center in Phoenix. While he continued to work on color avionic displays, he also applied his expertise in vision research and human factors to simulate, design, and evaluate new display technologies, including active-matrix liquid-crystal displays (AMLCDs), laser projection displays, and stereoscopic displays.
Lou formed VCD Sciences, Inc., in 1990, which enabled him to work with companies at the cutting edge of display technologies, pushing forward inventions in thin crystal films, holographic polymer-dispersed liquid crystals (H-PDLC), polymer-stabilized cholesteric-texture liquid crystals (PSCT), field-emissive displays (FEDs), full-color subtractive light-valve displays, super-twisted-nematic displays, near-to-eye virtual displays, and many other new display devices. Not only did Lou understand and contribute to these technologies, he also believed that human vision was the key to understanding the engineering tradeoffs that would result in the best display possible given the limits of technology and manufacturing. Throughout his career, Lou was noted for his passionate views about technology and design criteria that often led to cost-effective innovations and more beautiful products.
Lou published over 120 journal articles, book chapters, and technical papers, and he was awarded 30 patents for innovations in liquid-crystal displays and liquid-crystal-based image-capture devices. He was an adjunct professor of engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a visiting scholar in the Department of Medical Imaging at the Univer-sity of Arizona. He received many honors and awards, becoming a SID Fellow in 1997, the Macbeth Award from the Inter-Society Color Council in 2004 for his outstanding contributions in the field of full-color electronic displays, and the Otto Schade Prize from SID in 2008 for outstanding contributions related to display image quality and performance.
Lou was noted for his extensive service to the display community. He was an active member of SID and served on the program committee since 1984. He was on the editorial boards of several technical journals and served as a peer reviewer on many additional journals ranging over topics from photonics to human vision. Lou served on the National Research Council's Committee on Vision whose role it is to define public interest issues related to the science and technology of visual communications. He chaired the annual International SID Symposium in 1993 and was the technical program chair in 1991. He was also one of the leaders in creating the Color Imaging Conference, co-sponsored by SID and IS&T, that will celebrate its 20th conference this year. During his long active period at SID, Lou always looked for ways to improve the International Symposium. He recruited young promising scientists and engineers to become active in the industry and on SID program subcommittees. For many years, he taught the display engineering community at SID how to connect basic color vision science to display-engineering issues in a course that was always popular and well-received.
Lou was a man of great personal integrity, a wonderful friend, and a mentor to many young engineers and scientists entering the field. For those who were lucky enough to know Lou or work with him, his absence will forever be felt. His influence in the field of displays will be with us for many years to come.
by H. S. Kwok
The Society for Information Display, in co-operation with Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), helped organize the most recent FPD China exhibition, held in March of this year in Shanghai. SID's participation involved the assembly of a 2-day symposium at FPD in return for shared revenues and a chance to increase SID membership in China. SEMI ran the exhibition, which included three simultaneous events: FPD China, SEMICON, and SOLARCON.
The symposium featured 40 speakers, 22 of which were from overseas. China's research institutions presented papers, and China's two largest display manufacturers, BOE and Tianma, sent their COO and SVP, respectively, to present plenary talks. Both representatives painted a bright future for the expansion of China's display market. BOE and Tianma both have five Gen 4.5 or higher production lines currently in operation or under construction. Tianma, which showed its 4.3-in. AMOLED display for cell phones and a 12-in. AMOLED at the exhibition, is building a Gen 4.5 LTPS line in Xiamen.
This was the second year that SID organized the FPD China symposium. Last year, a total of 300 people attended, and the SID Beijing Chapter was able to increase its membership by 102 (plus 5 student members.) This year, attendance increased to 604. The number of new SID members was still being tallied at press time. •