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Jim Blinn to Receive the Steven Anson Coons Award at SIGGRAPH 99
For immediate release
30 June 1999
For further information:
Sheila Hoffmeyer
ACM SIGGRAPH announced today that Jim Blinn, widely known in the computer graphics community as an artist of picture, word, and science, has been selected to receive the Steven Anson Coons Award. The Award will be presented as part of the Keynote/Awards Session on 11 August 1999, at SIGGRAPH 99 in Los Angeles.
"In SIGGRAPH's thirty-year history, Blinn has made our community richer and more interesting with his wit, technical discoveries, animated productions of math and physics, and many graphics columns," said Bert Herzog, ACM SIGGRAPH Awards Chair. "His writings have a personal style and clarity that have made them a joy to read." Blinn currently is a Graphics Fellow at Microsoft Research.
While working on his Ph.D. at the University of Utah, Blinn developed bump mapping and, along with Martin Newell, reflection mapping (techniques that are still widely used today). During the same period, he consulted with the New York Institute of Technology and with Information International Inc, where he participated in foundational work for computer graphics in feature films.
In 1977 Blinn moved to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, where he made (along with his collaborators) a series of educational and scientific films. These included the Voyager Fly-by Animations, computer graphics animations for Cosmos (Carl Sagan's PBS series), The Mechanical Universe (animated sequences for a Caltech college-level physics telecourse), and Project Mathematics! (a series of video tapes to teach high school mathematics). Excerpts of these animations, awaited with great anticipation, were shown annually at the SIGGRAPH conference.
In 1987, Blinn began to write "Jim Blinn's Corner," a regular column for the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Graphics and Applications. While his primary motivation was to share his bag of computer graphics tricks, his articles were personal, humorous, and above all, models of clear exposition. They have since been collected in two books, "A Trip Down the Graphics Pipeline" and "Dirty Pixels."
Through the years, Blinn has also taught courses in computer graphics at institutions as diverse as the Universities of Michigan, Utah, and California (Berkeley), Caltech, West Coast College and the Pasadena Art Center's College of Design.
Recognized numerous times for his contributions, in 1983 Blinn was the first recipient of the SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award for his work in lighting and surface modeling. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1991 to support his work in educational animation. NASA gave him the Exceptional Service medal for the Voyager Fly-By animations and the IEEE recognized Blinn with the Outstanding Contribution Award for his column. In 1995, the Parsons School of Design presented him with an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree for his contributions to computer graphics.
In accepting his honorary doctorate, Blinn stated: "I think that the most important result of the computer graphics revolution is that it has helped heal the gulf between art and science."
"One cannot talk of the revolution or of the diminishing gulf between art an science without thinking of Jim Blinn," continued Herzog. "He has used his vision and deep understanding of the creative process in art and science to dramatically and permanently improve both disciplines."
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