Land, shown here with an early instant photograph, first demonstrated Polaroid's instant photography system to the public in 1947.
Land demonstrates a later model of the SX-70 camera, first introduced in 1972.
Edwin received the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1938.
Edwin received the Rumford Medal in 1945.
Edwin received the Holley Medal in 1948.
Edwin Land demonstrates Polaroid color instant photography.
Land (seated) and researchers examine test prints produced for the SX-70 launch.
Cambridge, MA, USA
Edwin studied at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
In 1927 Land graduated from Norwich Free Academy in Norwich, Connecticut, the United States. Also, he studied chemistry at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, but after his freshman year, he left and travelled to New York City.
Land was given an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Tufts College in 1947, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1952, Colby College in 1955, Northeastern University in 1959, Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1964, Yale University in 1966, Columbia University in 1967, Loyola University in 1970 and New York University in 1973.
Land began his career in New York, where he worked on scientific experiments independently. There he invented the very first cheap filters that had the ability to polarize light, the Polaroid film. Also Edwin visited New York Public Library in order to scour scientific literature for works concerning polarizing materials and substances.
Then in 1932, he established the Land-Wheelwright Laboratories together with his Harvard physics instructor, George Wheelwright, to commercialize his polarizing technology. Land developed and, in 1936, began to use numerous types of Polaroid material in sunglasses and other optical devices. He founded the Polaroid Corporation in 1937. Four years later Edwin developed a widely used, three-dimensional motion-picture process based on polarized light.
During World War II he worked in military projects and devised dark-adapt goggles, passively guided smart bombs and target finders. After the war Land began to work on an instantaneous developing film. In 1947, he demonstrated a camera, known as the Polaroid Land Camera, that produced a finished print in 60 seconds. The cameras were soon an instant success, selling out during the Christmas season in 1948 and would remain on the market for 50 years thereafter. A color-photo version of the product was released in 1963.
Also Land found that the colour perceived is not dependent on the relative amounts of blue, green and red light entering the eye. He proposed that at least three independent image-forming mechanisms, which he called retinexes, are sensitive to different colours and work in conjunction to indicate the colour seen.
In the 1950s, Land and his team helped design the optics of the revolutionary Lockheed U-2 spy plane. Also in the 1970s, Polaroid Corporation pioneered color instant film. In 1977, despite the tremendous success of his instant cameras, the company was unable to make a success of a film venture called Polavision and in 1982, he resigned as a chairman of Polaroid Corporation. But after that Edwin remained active in the field of light and colour research by working with the Rowland Institute of Science, a corporation that he founded in 1960.
"Don't undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible."
"Science is a method to keep yourself from kidding yourself."
"Marketing is what you do when your product is no good."
"The most important thing about power is to make sure you don't have to use it."
"If you dream of something worth doing and then simply go to work on it and don't think anything of personalities, or emotional conflicts, or of money, or of family distractions; it is amazing how quickly you get through those 5, 000 steps."
"It's not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas."
Land was a member of New York Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, American Optical Society, Royal Institution of Great Britain, American Philosophical Society, German Photographic Society, Japan Society of Photographic Science and Technology, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and Sigma Xi.
Carnegie Commission on Educational Television , United States
1966 - 1967
National Commission on Technology, Automation and Economic Progress , United States
1964 - 1966
President's Science Advisory Committee , United States
1957 - 1959
President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board , United States
1961 - 1977
In 1929, Edwin Land married Helen Terre Maislen. They had two daughters.