THE first presentation of the Progress Medal of the Photographic Society of America was made, during the Society‘s 1948 Convention held in Cincinnati, to Dr. C. E. Kenneth Mees, vice-president in charge of research of the Eastman Kodak Company, in recognition of his contributions to photography—technical, literary and inspirational. Dr. Mees delivered the Society‘s first Progress Medal Lecture, dealing with the work of the Kodak Research Laboratories. Emphasizing the spirit of freedom in the Laboratories, he said : "When the scientist selects a field of work, he is left free to exploit it as he sees fit. No attempt is made to anticipate scientific discoveries that may be made, or to regulate or organise the direction which the work may take." He traced the growth and achievements of the Laboratories, mentioning studies from 1920 onward of the physical chemistry of gelatin and the crystalline structure of the silver halides, important to photographic emulsions. He described the discovery in 1925 of the sensitizing action of gelatin for silver bromide. The chemistry of development, sensitometry, the psycho-physics involved in viewing photographs, and granularity and graininess of photo materials were among the topics discussed. The largest single division of the Laboratories, he said, is that devoted to the making of photographic emulsions, both for film and paper. The emulsion laboratories have also done important work on optical sensitizing dyes, which brought rapid changes in photographic materials between 1925 and 1935.
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Progress Medal of the Photographic Society of America : Dr. C. E. K. Mees, F.R.S. Nature 163, 54 (1949). https://doi.org/10.1038/163054c0