publication of the
Murphy Honored with Career Achievement Award
Patrick Murphy, founder of Pangolin Laser Systems, was honored
with the ILDA 2004 Career Achievement Award.
The award, presented at the Oct. 23 ILDA Awards Banquet in Las
Vegas, recognizes the career of one individual who has made an outstanding
contribution to laser displays.
Murphy, as founder and 15-year president
of Pangolin, played a key role in making it possible for just
about anyone to create affordable, professional-quality laser
shows. Murphy was a pioneer in laser computer graphics. His first
computerized laser graphics were done in 1979, using a mainframe computer at
Oberlin College. In 1981 he earned a B.A. degree in Laser Art and Technology.
For the next five years, he continued to improve his software. In 1986,
Murphy founded Pangolin Laser Software to sell his Amiga-based Laser Show
Designer program, the first laser software that worked like standard
computer graphics paint programs.
In 1988, he and William Benner began
their close collaboration on
continually-improved Lasershow Designer
versions. Murphy primarily handled
Pangolin business functions and LD user
interface programming, while Benner
worked on advanced LD software
programming and on the QuadMod hardware
boards. Lasershow Designer was both a
technological and artistic success. It
won more awards for Pangolin and its
clients than any other laser software
and became a worldwide market
Murphy was a strong supporter of ILDA, working to create
standardized equipment and shows. The widespread use of ILDA-compatible
projectors andinterchangeable shows demonstrates the degree to which this
vision was realized. He was on the ILDA Board of Directors from 1994-1996,
was elected ILDA President in 1995, and served as ILDA Airspace Issues
Coordinator from 1996-1999. In November 1995, one month after Murphy was
elected ILDA President, the FDA shut down all outdoor laser shows in Las
Vegas. For the next three years, Murphy and other key ILDA members worked
with regulators to protect the right of laserists to do outdoor shows. This
effort was eventually successful ó Murphy even wrote some of the regulations
and forms used by the government. 'For his work, Murphy was awarded an ILDA
Certificate of Commendation, and received an Award of Recognition from the
ďSAE G-10Ēaviation safety committee.
Murphy was one of the three
inventors of an entirely new style of laser display, raster graphic frames.
He and Benner were co-winners of three ILDA Technology Awards and two
Brewster Awards. Murphy also won an ILDA Technology Award for his renumbering
algorithm, and two ILDA Artistic Awards for his own laser art
Although Murphy was unable to attend the Las Vegas awards
ceremony, he asked that the follow statement be read on his behalf:
"Iím sorry I canít be with you
tonight. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this
wonderful recognition. It means a lot to me, since Iíve been attracted
to lasers all of my working life.
"This attraction comes
about, I think, because laser displays are the purest of the visual
arts. If you consider the other lighting disciplines represented
here at the ETS-LDI conference, light is always used in the support
of something else: stage lighting, architectural lighting, nightclub
lighting. But with laser shows, light IS the show.
is special. It is the cosmic speed limit. It is what the universe
formed out of, in the Big Bang. In the Bible, it is the second thing
created, after the heavens and the earth. And the purest, most controllable
light of all is lasers.
"The artistic pinnacle of laser
displays, to me, were the early planetarium shows. These shows had
only abstracts Ė no graphics Ė plus very creative lumia and diffraction
effects. Nothing but light illustrating music. They are one of the
two great accomplishments of laser art.
"The other is
audience-scanned beam shows. The people in this room know, like
few others, how exciting it is to be surrounded by precision-shaped
Itís like being inside a fireworks display! It is a shame
that audience scanning shows are essentially banned in the United
States. My one regret in my career is that I wasnít able to help
bring audience scanning to the U.S.
"In my career, Iíve been most
proud of three areas. The first and most important was to make it
easier for people to create professional laser shows, with the work
of Bill Benner and myself on Lasershow Designer. The second was
to work with others in ILDA to create a real industry, with standard
projectors and interchangeable shows like in those film and video.
The third area Iím proud of is helping to keep outdoor shows legal
in the U.S.
"I could not have done
this by myself. There are many people Iíd like to thank, starting
with my wife Donna and with my parents, who supported my efforts
even when I did something ďuselessĒ like study laser art in college.
There are many others in ILDA -- too many to list. Iíd like to make
special note of my friend David Lytle, whom Iíve known since high
school; of Greg Makhov; and of course my long-time laser partner
Bill Benner. It has been a privilege to work with him. I asked Bill
if he would accept the award in my absence. Since he is on a plane
right now, Iíd like to ask his wife, Karen, if she would come up
and accept it. Thank you."