(May 7, 1909-March 1, 1991)
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut
Invented polarized film (1929)
Founded the Polaroid Corporation (1937)
Introduced the instant camera (1947)
Held 535 patents
Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1963) and National Medal of Technology (1988)
Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (1977)
Why he might be annoying
He dropped out of Harvard twice.
He performed his early experiments with polarized film by sneaking through an unlocked window into a lab at Columbia University.
He would get so wrapped up in his research that his wife had to bring food to him and remind him to eat.
He wore the same clothes for 18 straight days during one marathon research session.
He was forced to resign from Polaroid after promoting the Polavision movie camera system which lost $68 million (1980).
Why he might not be annoying
During WWII, he helped develop dark-adaptation goggles, target finders and the first passively-guided smart bombs.
He advised President Eisenhower about issues in photographic reconnaissance.
He was good friends with Ansel Adams who advised Polaroid and tested films for 35 years.
At Polaroid, he encouraged training women and minorities as research scientists.
His 535 patents were second only to Edison's 1,093.
He said, 'An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.'
Credit: C. Fishel
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