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Home / Science / Russell Kirsch, the inventor of pixels, died in Oregon at the age of 91

Russell Kirsch, the inventor of pixels, died in Oregon at the age of 91



Russell Kirsch, a credited computer scientist who invented the world’s first digital pixel and scan photo, passed away on August 11 at his home in Portland at the age of 91.

Born in Manhattan in 1929, Kirsch was the son of Jews immigrating from Russia and Hungary. Trained at the Bronx High School of Science, New York University, Harvard and MIT, Kirsch has worked for five decades as a research scientist at the US National Bureau of Standards (now the Institute of Science). National Science and Technology).

“My father, he̵

7;s a super curious person, always asking questions,” said his son, Walden Kirsch, who works at Intel in Oregon. “He’s an icon. When people said you couldn’t go there or you couldn’t do it, he did ”.

In 1957, Kirsch created a small, 2 x 2-inch, black-and-white digital image of Walden as a child – one of the first images ever scanned into a computer, using a device. was created by his team. Life magazine featured this image in a 2003 book, “100 pictures that changed the world” and is now in the collection of the Portland Art Museum.

Kirsch told The Oregonian in 2007: “Anyone involved with computers will tell you how powerful it is for creativity.

Russell Kirsch

Russell Kirsch with a picture of his son, Walden, scanned into the world’s first digital scanner in 1957.Image file Oregonian / 2007

Kirsch moved from Maryland to Oregon in 2001. He suffers from dementia but still works regularly at Ken’s Artisan bakery in northwestern Portland for many years. In the 1960s, Kirsch’s team pioneered artificial intelligence, and Walden Kirsch said he was sorry his father was unable to gauge the popularity of that technology.

“At the time, it was just a strange thing,” said Walden Kirsch. “He was at the forefront, many, many years ago when it was one thing.”

Russell Kirsch is survived by his 65-year wife Joan, children Walden, Peter, Lindsey and Kara, and four grandchildren.

– Mike Rogoway | mrogoway@oregonian.com | twitter: @rogoway | 503-294-7699

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