The Optical Society Names David H. Brainard the 2021 Edgar D. Tillyer Award Recipient


The Optical Society is pleased to announce that David H. Brainard, University of Pennsylvania, USA, has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Edgar D. Tiller Award. Brainard is honored for groundbreaking experimental and theoretical contributions to our understanding of how the visual system resolves the ambiguities inherent in sensory signals to produce a stable percept of object color.

David Brainard earned an A.B. degree from Harvard University, USA and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University, USA. He held positions at the University of Rochester, USA and the University of California at Santa Barbara, USA before joining the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) as RRL Professor of Psychology. He is also director of Penn’s Vision Research Center and Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences.

Brainard’s most well-known contributions are from his studies of color constancy, which have led to a quantitative model. Notable achievements in his work include his development and distribution of the Psychophysics Toolbox (a software package for visual psychophysics), psychophysical measurements, his ability to link psychophysical data to quantitative models, and his ability to translate insights from biological vision into practical image processing solutions. Recently, he has applied the underlying principles of color constancy to how the visual system resolves ambiguity in the visual pathway, and has developed a computational model. 

He has received the Macbeth Award from the Inter-Society Color Council and the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow of OSA and the Association for Psychological Science.

Established in 1953, the Tillyer Award is presented to an individual who has performed distinguished work in the field of vision, including but not limited to the optics, physiology, anatomy or psychology of the visual system. It honors Edgar D. Tillyer’s important contributions to the advancement of better vision and the optical sciences, and is endowed by the American Optical Company and the Chope Family Bypass Trust.