John Nash Ott '27 (1992)

Over sixty years ago, while working by day at the First National Bank of Chicago, John Ott, NSCDS Class of 1927, began his evening and weekend experiments that would lead to the development of time-lapse photography. As Ott and others refined this process, the applications turned out to be enormous, ranging from the laboratories of plant biologists to the studios of Hollywood filmmakers. Most of us probably know the process best from the famous Walt Disney nature films, on many of which Ott worked. Or we may recall, Barbra Streisand's movie, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, where Ms. Streisand's singing seems to bring a plant to full flower before our eyes. But John Ott was the real magician.
John Ott's insatiable curiosity led him from time-lapse photography to an interest in the effects of artificial light on plants and animals. This subject has, in one way or another, been the focus of his work for the last forty years. His research on artificial light has resulted in awards and recognitions from a remarkable variety of disciplines, including horticulture, dentistry, ophthalmology, animal husbandry, marine biology, ecology and photography.

John Ott continues to write lecture, appear on television and take every opportunity to get his message about light to the public at large. Though the science is complex, his basic point is simple: We should be paying more attention than we do to the effects of artificial light on human behavior.

For his key role in the invention of time-lapse photography and for his contributions to many disciplines through his research on light, we are honored to present John Nash Ott with the Francis R. Stanton Alumni Recognition Award. It is a particular delight to be giving this award to one of Franny Stanton's own classmates from the Class of 1927.

Presented June 5, 1992
Molly Ingram '80, President Elect, Alumni Association
The North Shore Countr y Day School
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North Shore Country Day School is a junior kindergarten through 12th grade, college-preparatory school founded in Winnetka, Illinois in 1919.  With rigorous academic pursuit as the cornerstone, North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel – in the classroom and the laboratory, on the stage and the playing field, in their communities and beyond.

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