Deane B. Judd

Dean Brewster Judd was born in South Hadley Falls, Mass., Nov. 15, 1900 and received an A.B. in 1922 and an M.A. in 1923 from Ohio State University. He completed his Ph.D. in physics at Cornell University.  In his doctoral dissertation on a quantitative investigation of the Purkinje afterimage Judd demonstrated pioneering efforts in the use of psychology in colorimetric studies. 

Judd spent his entire career at the National Bureau of Standards. In the summers of 1925 and 1926 he worked as a Munsell research associate at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), and in 1927 became a full time NBS staff member. When Judd retired from NBS in 1969 he ended a 40-year span during which he was regarded as the foremost colorimetrist in the U.S.

From the outset, colorimetry was one of Judd’s primary interests. He focused on the practical application of spectrophotometry to problems of color vision. Before 1931 there were no international standards for colorimetry, and during Judd’s first years at NBS his research was directed mainly at providing information that Irwin Priest (then head of colorimetry at NBS) would use at the 1931 meeting of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE).  Priest took ill in 1931, and died in 1932, and the responsibility for the CIE colorimetry work was left principally to Judd. 

In 1933 Judd published an article in JOSA that introduced U.S. scientists to the Standard Observer and Coordinate System for Colorimetry recommended in 1931 by CIE.  Judd contributed significantly to derivation of the data for the CIE observer, and to the very convenient form in which they and the associated coordinate system were recommended. He influenced the derivation of working tables and charts that appeared in the 1936 MIT “Handbook of Colorimetry” which quickly became the standard manual for the routine practice of colorimetry based on spectrophotometry.

He wrote books on color in science and industry.  He helped define the Munsell color system, and also the Lovibond color system.  One of his most important contributions was a 1939 article in JOSA defining a Standard Observer and a coordinate system for colorimetry. He was author of the book Color in Business, Science and Industry.   In the 1960s he engaged in a vigorous controversy with Edwin Land on Land’s work on two primary color projection. 

From 1953 until his death in 1972 Judd served as chair of the OSA committee on uniform color scales. He received OSA’s Frederic Ives Medal and served as editor of JOSA from 1961 to 1963.