Nomination
An alumnus from the Cardinal and Gray society nominates Polaroid film.

Photo by Ana Belén Ramón Castillo used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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  • (To the moderator — I just submitted this comment at “Hybrid Images” although it is not a really good fit, there. I had been thinking of your tags “Illusion” and “Visual Perception” that I found there. But maybe submitting it here is a better fit. Please note that you now have two of the same comment of mine.)

    In 1963, I took a course on image processing and television design issues with Prof. William F. Schreiber. Dr. Schreiber took a very comprehensive view of the television design environment, bringing to bear the scan rate, number of lines per frame, and even the retention of visual images on the human retina (about 0.1 sec.). On the subject of color, it was generally agreed that measurement is three-dimensional (e.g., red-green-blue or cyan-magenta-yellow), but Prof. Schreiber wanted to allow Edwin H. Land, co-founder of Polaroid Corp., to state his claims that color could in certain cases be reduced to two dimensions.

    In those days, Polaroid was but a short walk from M.I.T. It was a nice day, and we all went on a “field trip.” Edwin Land greeted us, and ushered us into a very comfortable screening room with a projector. He showed us still photos that took advantage of the human retina’s propensity to envision an “opposite” color when saturated with a given predominant color. His presentation included pictures designed to play on our brains’ expectations that certain objects “must be” of a certain color (e.g., evergreen trees “must be” green).

    It was an interesting and memorable experience. I recall it whenever I drive by the CambridgeSide Galleria and happen to glance at the street sign: Edwin H. Land Blvd.