SciTech Tuesday: Edwin Land, Inventor of the Polaroid and WWII Optics
Tomorrow marks the birthday of Edwin Herbert Land, a prolific innovator who worked optics for the US military during WWII. His innovations include early night-vision goggles and stereoscopic imaging used to identify camouflaged enemy positions from aerial photographs. While Dr. Land’s contributions to the war effort were significant, he is best known for his invention of the first instant camera, the Polaroid.
Inspired by his 3-year-old daughter’s desire to see photographs instantly, Land’s camera used a photosensitive surface as both film and photograph, eliminating the need for developing film in the lab. Second only to Thomas Edison in patent applications, Land’s interests went beyond invention into scientific research. Later in life he researched color vision, describing a new theory of how the human eye perceives color. Dr. Land received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 for his work in optics.
Post by Annie Tête, STEM Education Coordinator