Interview by Mindy Levine Ph.D.
2008 Jan Burandt and Vivian Walworth at National Stereoscopic Assn convention
Grand Rapids MI July by Susan Pinsky
2009 Jan Burandt and Vivian Walworth at National Stereoscopic Assn convention
Mesa AZ July by Susan Pinsky
She then found a research lab job at a small photographic company, Defender, which later became part of DuPont. During Vivian's time at Defender, the company had two pay scales: one for men and one for women. At one point, Vivian found out that she was being paid a lower salary than the male dishwasher was paid. She promptly "went and made a complaint," until the salary discrepancy was corrected.
2009 Sue Berry, Vivian Walworth and Dick Koolish at National Stereoscopic Assn convention
in Mesa AZ July by Susan Pinsky
During the following year Wilbur completed an evening course in what was then called Ultrahigh Frequency Techniques, offered by the War Manpower Training Commission ("radar" then being a classified term). He then accepted a position as Radar Field Engineer with
Submarine Signal Company in Boston and was soon assigned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Vivian worked for a year in a University of Pennsylvania biochemistry research lab engaged in an Air Force-sponsored study of brain metabolism at reduced oxygen levels
1992 Susan Pinsky, Sam Kitrosser, David Burder, Paul Wing, Dottie
and Vivian Walworth by David Starkman
In 1944, Vivian and her husband moved back to the Boston area, where Vivian obtained a job at Polaroid. Vivian's initial position was in Vectograph Research. The Vectograph process provided black-and-white three-dimensional polarized images that could be produced rapidly in the field, and these images were used extensively throughout World War II in support of aerial surveillance. Polaroid operated a school to train military technicians and supplied field kits that enabled them to produce stereoscopic images rapidly in the field for use in pilot briefing sessions. Within the Vectograph Research Laboratory, Vivian worked on a pilot training film that provided polarized target circles that could be displayed during training and turned off for pilot testing. She also participated in research on color Vectograph processes.
- A Scientist,
The R&D being conducted at StereoJet, Inc. is an outgrowth of Polaroid research on color Vectographs. When inkjet printing was introduced in the 1980s, Vivian realized that the technology could be used to generate three-dimensional color images. Preliminary work at Polaroid indicated that this idea was feasible. Vivian worked for several years as consultant to a group at the Rowland Institute for Science led by another former Polaroid employee, Jay Scarpetti, to develop and patent the first StereoJet process. This work was discontinued when the Rowland Institute merged with Harvard University in 2002. Vivian and others tried for some time to help Harvard license the process. Finally, "a group of Polaroid 'alumni' decided that we should be the ones to do it," said Vivian, "and here we are."
2013 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference in San Francisco -
Vivian Walworth at her exhibit table - Feb by David Starkman
She was a scientist, inventor, scholar, author, editor, Senior Manager at Polaroid, role model, hiker, expert mycologist, and community leader in Girl Scouts and conservation programs in her town. At the same time she was a wife, mother, grandmother.
I am fortunate to have had a long friendship with Vivian, and there are no words that can express my gratitude for her support of my photographic endeavors. We had our last conversation a few weeks before she passed away. She was as "sharp as a tack," and was talking about future possible activities, though at the same time realizing there were health issues that might not allow those to happen. Sadly, such was the case. I, her loving and caring family, will miss her greatly. I would encourage you to do a web search on Vivian K. Walworth. I know you will find references to an unique and amazing person who blazed a trail in the scientific world during an era when men dominated the field. All of us that are photographers use technology, at the molecular level, that she helped to pioneer. More importantly, her heart was filled with compassion, excitement, and an amazing love for life.
Special thanks to Mary and John McCann, longtime friends and colleagues of Vivian, at Polaroid Corporation for their contributions to this text.
Vivian Walworth - Various Sources
It is with sadness that we note the recent passing of Vivian Walworth, 3D pioneer at age 93. While working at Polaroid and later with the Rowland Institute (which she was co-founder) Vivian was essential in the development of circular polarized 3D, the vectograph, and instant print film. Vivian was also a regular fixture at our NSA conventions and the Stereoscopic Displays Conference in the last few years and was a giving 3d enthusiast and mentor along with being a premier scientist.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1922 Vivian received a BS in Chemistry from University of Michigan in 1942. She married fellow student Wilbur Walworth and moved to Cambridge in 1943, where Vivian joined Polaroid, working on 3D imaging for aerial reconnaissance during the War.
Vivian worked closely with Edwin Land and was instrumental in having the laboratory where he invented instant photography designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in 2015. She was a member of the Boston Mycological Club from the early 1950s. After her retirement in 1985, Vivian served as a consultant at Rowland Institute for Science, and in 2009 she co-founded StereoJet, Inc., which uses innovative technology similar to vectographs to produce high-quality 3D images.
Vivian taught courses at Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement from 1992 to 2008. She was an active member of First Parish in Concord. She traveled extensively to locales as far as Fiji. Vivian died March 29 after a slow decline due to atrial stenosis. She is survived by her 5 children, 4 grandchildren and 6 step- grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on June 18 at First Parish in Concord.
Janaka Rajapakse - VFX ASIA
"R.I.P Vivian Walworth
It is with great sadness that I write to let you all know that Vivian Walworth passed away last week at the age of 94.
Vivian had a wonderfully accomplished career. If you've ever seen a RealD 3D movie, you have Vivian to thank for the development of circularly polarized 3D glasses. If you've ever used a Polaroid instant film camera, you have Vivian to thank for her part in developing and refining Polaroid instant film. Vivian also worked on the Vectograph polarized 3D print technique which evolved to the StereoJet polarized 3D inkjet print technique."
Harvard Oasis Library
Subseries IK. Vivian Walworth records, 1941-1985
Historical Note: Vivian Walworth began her career in the vectograph research department at Polaroid in 1944. She worked on black and white three dimensional imaging, stereoscopic imaging and the color vectograph process. After the introduction of one-step instant photography, Walworth conducted research on photographic emulsions. She later became manager of the Emulsion Research Laboratory and the Research Microscopy Laboratory. Before she left Polaroid in 1985, she was the Senior Manager of Photosensitive Materials Research. With Dr. Edwin Land, Walworth co-authored a chapter on one-step instant photography, filed 28 patents and served as president of the Society of Photographic Scientists and Engineers from 1981-1985.
Scope and Content: Vivian Walworth's records consist of memorandum files, correspondence, subject files, research files and records pertaining to her tenure as president of the Society of Photographic Scientists and Engineers. The records date from 1941 to 1985. The memorandum files primarily consists of documents relating to scientific research, including lab and experiment reports, scientific data and diagrams, case histories and research papers for publication, lab equipment and materials. Much of Walworth's research was dedicated to the improvement of one-step instant photography, the SX-70 camera and Project Sesame.
Related Material: For additional material related to vectograph research and three-dimensional movie records, see Three-dimensional research and Willian H. Ryan's records.
Vivian had a wonderfully accomplished career. If you've ever seen a
RealD 3D movie, you have Vivian to thank for the development of
circularly polarized 3D glasses. If you've ever used a Polaroid instant
film camera, you have Vivian to thank for her part in developing and
refining Polaroid instant film. Vivian also worked on the Vectograph
polarized 3D print technique which evolved to the StereoJet polarized 3D inkjet print technique.