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Edwin Herbert Land

(1909—1991)


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(1909–1991)

US inventor best known for his development of the Polaroid camera.

Land was educated at Harvard but left before graduating to develop a new kind of polarizing filter. In 1937 he founded the Polaroid Company to exploit his discovery. By reducing sun glare, this material found wide use in the manufacture of glasses, binoculars, prisms and other optical instruments. During World War II, Land was in charge of research into the development of weapons. He first demonstrated his instant camera in 1947 and in the following year the Polaroid Land Camera was on sale to the public. Land was chairman of the Polaroid Company from 1937 until his retirement in 1980.

He also pursued over the years a continued interest in the mechanism of colour vision, arguing in his retinex (retina-and-cortex) theory that the nature of the perceived image is not determined solely by the flux of radiant energy reaching the eye.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics — Arts and Humanities.


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