Vladimir K. Zworykin, the immigrant scientist and engineer often called the father of television in recognition of the devices he invented for converting moving images into electronic signals and back again, died Thursday in Princeton, N.J., one day before his 93rd birthday. The cause of death was not reported.
Dr. Zworykin also devised or developed various other inventions and techniques, including the electron microscope and infrared night vision equipment.
Dr. Zworykin, who was born in Russia and served in the Imperial Army's signal corps in World War I, came to this country in 1919, quickly learned English and set about devising the equipment that formed the foundations of modern television.
While working in the Pittsburgh laboratories of the Westinghouse Electric Co. in the early 1920s, Dr. Zworykin invented both the kinescope, the electronic picture tube that is the heart of the television receiver, and the iconoscope, the transmitting tube that was the forerunner of the tubes used today.
In the transmitting tube, light coming from the object being televised is focused on a light-sensitive screen, which converts it into electrical charges, through a phenomenon known as photoelectricity.
A beam of electrons travels down the long neck of the iconoscope, sweeps rapidly across the screen, and translates the charges into currents. Their strength shapes the electronic signal that is ultimately transmitted.
The kinescope, also a long-necked device in which an electron beam scans a specially treated screen, turns the signal into a picture by a process essentially the reverse of that used in the iconoscope.
Dr. Zworykin demonstrated his early, flickering system to Westinghouse executives as early as 1924. He was "terribly excited and proud," he recalled later. He also remembered being advised to spend his time on something "a little more useful."
In 1929 Dr. Zworykin, who received a PhD in 1926 from the University of Pittsburgh, became head of the RCA research laboratory. Asked what it would cost to perfect his system, he suggested what he said he considered the wildly inflated sum of $100,000. By 1949, the company had spent $50 million on the system.
In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson awarded him the National Medal of Science.
Survivors include his wife, Katherine, a daughter and seven grandchildren.