San Diego, CA, October 4, 2004 -- On the heels of winning an Academy Award earlier this year for his groundbreaking work in compu ter graphics, Computer Science and Engineering professor Henrik Wann Jensen has now been honored by Popular Science. In its October 2004 issue, the mag azine includes Jensen on its "Brilliant 10" list -- the best and the brightest a mong young scientists. The 2004 list is the third since the publication began co mpiling its annual honor roll.
All ten of the honored scientists are 40 or younger. The 3 4-year-old Jensen is cited for his work in computer graphics. "Jensen realized t hat surfaces don't just reflect light, but absorb it," reports the magazine. "He has taken that absorption and translated it into digital code for graphics. His expertise was seen by audiences in Terminator 3, Shrek 2, the Lord of the Rings films and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." At the 2004 Academy Awards, Jensen received a Technical Achievement Award for hi s pioneering research in rendering translucent materials, notably skin.
Other scientists keeping Jensen company on the Brilliant 1 0 list were drawn from a wide range of scientific fields, including biomechanics , high-impact physics, planetary science, glaciology, laser physics, DNA-based c hemistry, neuroscience, and evolutionary ecology. Two honorees each came from UC Berkeley, Princeton and the Southwest Research Institute. Other institutions on the list: Harvard, the University of Arizona, and Cold Spring Harbor Lab.
Jensen was recently honored with a Sloan Fellowship, and i s establishing a computer graphics lab at UCSD with a research focus on realisti c image synthesis, global illumination, rendering of natural phenomena, and appe arance modeling. His contributions to computer graphics include the photon mappi ng algorithm for global illumination, and the first technique for efficiently si mulating subsurface scattering in translucent materials. He is the author of "Re alistic Image Synthesis using Photon Mapping," AK Peters 2001.
Prior to coming to UCSD in 2002, Jensen was a research ass ociate at Stanford University from 1999-2002, a postdoctoral researcher at the M assachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1998-1999, and a research scient ist in industry working on commercial rendering software from 1996-1998. He rece ived his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Technical University of De nmark in 1996 for developing the photon mapping method.
On October 11, Jensen will deliver the second in a new ser ies of lectures called "Frontiers in Computer Science," in which he will present recent research on rendering of photorealistic humans, with a focus on human fa ces and hair.