A Brief History of the Pixel with OLLI-UO

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Investigate the history of the pixel and its use in both art and science to create the visual image.

You can attend this program online or in person. To take part online, register here https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_P7icjvOVS72w9D6Jlud0Hw#/registration

Although “pixel” is a modern word (1965), the use of pixel points of information to convey a visual image can be firmly documented as long as 5500 years ago in Mesopotamia. Pixels are the essential ingredient in mosaics, impressionist painting, film photography, facsimile transmission, half-tone printing in newspapers, and most recently¬ódigital photography, used by both consumers and astrophysicists. The ubiquitous screens we all carry around and by which we entertain ourselves and get significant work done would not exist without the pixel. The technique also has a deep analogy in animal biology. Join us as John Rhetts investigates the history of this picture element and its use in both art and science to create the visual image.

Dr. John Rhetts is a recovering but recalcitrant psychologist. After earning advanced degrees at Harvard and Cornell Universities, he was a professor at the University of Minnesota for 7 years, and then opened and maintained a clinical practice in Minneapolis for 20 years.
After retiring from clinical practice, he moved to Bend, where he has lived for almost 30 years.
John served for 6 years on the citizens advisory group that accomplished the foundation of the Cascades Campus of Oregon State University in Bend, and he served for 7 years as a Trustee of Central Oregon Community College.

John began learning about pixels in the mid-1960s, with 35mm cameras and film. He has worked with digital photography since the early 2000s. He has twice taught a course on editing digital photography for OLLI, and currently does very high-resolution photography for the Archeological Society of Central Oregon and various Federal agencies – focused on documenting pictographic rock art sites in Central Oregon.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Oregon (OLLI-UO) in Central Oregon invites community members to participate in our Friday Talks in partnership with the Deschutes Public Library. OLLI-UO is an intellectual and social community of engaged adult learners, connecting members to university faculty and professionals in respective fields. A six-month or yearlong membership allows participation in a variety of lectures, courses, peer-led study and discussion groups, educational tours, field trips, and social events.

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