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Howard C. Howland

Professor Emeritus

W351 Seeley G. Mudd Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

Phone: (607) 255-4716
Fax: (607) 254-1303


Click on this image for the manuscript on the visual system and art.

Research Interests

The research in Howland’s laboratory focuses on vision, especially physiological optics. He has worked for many years on the development of refractive state in infants, children and young adults. Other projects have involved emmetropization and eye growth in chickens, measurements of monochromatic high-order aberrations of eyes, compensation for corneal aberrations by the internal optics of the eye, and measurements of accommodation in a variety of animals. Currently he works with undergraduate students to study image processing in humans.  He is particularly interested in determining the saliency of different cues in distinguishing separate objects in the visual scene.

Biographical Sketch

Professor Howland received his B.A. (1952) in Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago, his M.S.(1958) in Zoology at Tufts University, and his Ph.D. (1968) in Biological Sciences at Cornell University. Howland served in the U.S. Army in the U.S., Korea, and Japan from 1953-55. He was an Instructor at the State University of New York, Long Island Center from 1960-66 and Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1966-67. From 1962-63 and 1964-66 He was a Scientific Assistant at the Max Planck Institut für Verhaltensphysiolgie, Seewiesen, Germany, in Abteilung Mittelstaedt. He was appointed as Assistant Professor at Cornell University in 1968, promoted to Associate Professor in 1974, and to Professor in 1985. Howland has spent academic leaves at Dunedin School of Medicine (New Zealand), Vision, Touch and Hearing Centre (Australia), University of Sussex (U.K.), the Institute of Ophthalmology, University of London (U.K.), Physiology Department, Cambridge (U.K.), The School of Optometry at the University of Manchester,(UK) the School of Optometry and Vision Science in Brisbane (Australia), and the Max-Planck Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie (Germany). Howland is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, a member of several professional societies, and has served on the editorial boards of Vision Research, and currently serves on the editorial board of Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics.

Recent Publications

Click on this image for the manuscript on the visual system and art.

Machovsky-Capuska,G.E., Howland, H.C., Raubenheimer,D., Vaughn-Hirshorn,R., Würsig,B.,  Hauber, M.E., Katzir, G. (2012) Visual accommodation and active pursuit of prey underwater in a plunge-diving bird: the Australasian gannet, Proc. R. Soc. B 22 October 2012 vol. 279 no. 1745 4118-4125.

Christina Wahl, C.,Tong Li, T., Takagi,Y.,Howland, H.C.(2011) The effects of light regimes and hormones on corneal growth in vivo and in organ culture. Journal of Anatomy Volume 219, Issue 6,  766–775, 2011.

Howland, H.C. (2011) Fine points on heat-conduction experiment. Physics Today, vol. 64, issue 1, p. 11.

Howland, H.C. (2010) Pattern recognition in Bees. Behav Neurosci. 2010; 4: 11.

Howland, H.C. (2009) A subjective method for the measurement of monochromatic aberrations of the eye  Journal of Vision December 31, 2009 vol. 9 no. 14 article 2.

Howland, H.C. (2009) Photorefraction of eyes: History and future Prospects. Optomethry and Vision Science, 86 (6):603-606.

Howland, H.C.  (2009) Orbital orientation is not visual orientation: A comment on “X-Ray Vision and the evolution of forward-facing eyes” by M.A. Changizi and S.Shimojo,  Journal of Theoretical Biology(2008), 522-523.

Wahl, C., Li, T. Choden, T. & Howland, H.C. (2009) Morphometrics of corneal growth in chicks raised in constant light. Journal of Anatomu 214, 355-361.

Howland, H.C. Optical oblique astigmatism of the human eye. Journal of Vision December 31, 2009 vol. 9 no. 14 article 3.

Courses Taught

Sensory function BioNB 492 (with Professor Bruce Halpern)
The visual system BioNB 320

Human and animal eyes BioNB 420-1