Edwin Land was a
physicist, manufacturing executive, and an inventor. He was born on May
7,1909 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He had a wife and two daughters. Edwin
got his education at Norwich Free Academy and Harvard University. As a
freshman at Harvard in 1926, Edwin became interested in polarized light.
By aligning and embedding crystals in a plastic sheet, he developed Polaroid.
At the age of nineteen, Edwin left Harvard in search for a laboratory.
Together with other young scientists, he applied the polarizing principle
to light filters, optical devices and motion picture processes. Edwin
Land founded the Polaroid Corporation in 1937 where he adopted polarized
materials for sunglasses, 3-D movies, and for other military use. From
that point on he spent his whole life researching and developing optical
He developed the
first modern polarizers for light, a sequence of posterior polarizers,
as well as theories and practices for applications of polarized light.
Edwin was remembered for his instant-photo film and cameras. For example,
he created cameras and films that gave instant dry photographs in black
and white. He also proposed the "retinex" theory for mechanism of color
perception. In 1932 he created the Polaroid J sheet, which is cheap and
simple to fabricate polarizing material. Edwin patented polarized light
filters, which helped eliminate glare and reflections in 1934. During
World War II, Edwin developed optical and other systems for the military.
He invented infrared filter, dark adaptation goggles, and target finders.
In the late 1940's Polaroid Corp. introduced the world to the first self-developing
Polaroid Land Camera that produced photographs in seconds. This camera
can also put out a microscope to view living cells in their natural colors.
In 1947, he developed a single-step photographic process that enabled
pictures to develop in sixty seconds. Edwin also introduced color film
that developed photographs inside the camera in fifty seconds. Ten years
later, 1973, he invented self-developing positive print. In 1960 he founded
the Rowland Institute of Science. Then he retired from Polaroid in 1980.
Edwin was awarded six honorary doctorates. For his many accomplishments,
he received numerous awards, and honorary degrees. Edwin Herbert Land
died on March 1, 1991.