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Russell Kirsch (1929–2020), inventor of the pixel

by Kirk Fox

Russel Kirsch was a computer scientist credited with inventing the pixel and being the first to scan a digital photograph.  

  • Died: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 (Who else died on August 11?)
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 91 from a form of Alzheimer’s disease.   
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Pioneering computer scientist 

Kirsch attended New York University, MIT, and Harvard and went on to a 50-year career as a research scientist at the National Institutes of Science and Technology. He is credited with creating the first digitally scanned photograph in 1957 with a 176-pixel image of his infant son Walden. That technology would be the foundation for the digital photography that is used today. In 2003, Life magazine named Kirsch’s first digital scan as one of the “100 photographs that changed the world.” His work would also lead to satellite imaging, bar codes, CAT scans, and desktop publishing.  

What they said about him

Full Obituary: Oregon Live


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