Born in Fremont, Nebraska, Harold "Doc" Edgerton (1903-1990) began his graduate studies at MIT in 1926. He became a professor of electrical engineering at MIT in 1934. In 1966, he was named Institute Professor, MIT's highest honor.
With his development of the electronic stroboscope, Edgerton set into motion a lifelong course of innovation centered on a single idea – making the invisible visible. An inveterate problem-solver, Edgerton succeeded in photographing phenomena that were too bright or too dim or moved too quickly or too slowly to be captured with traditional photography.
In the early days of his career, Edgerton's subjects were motors, running water and drops splashing, bats and hummingbirds in flight, golfers and footballers in motion, his children at play. By the time of his death at the age of 86, Edgerton had developed dozens of practical applications for stroboscopy, some that would influence the course of history.
(© 2010 MIT. Courtesy of MIT Museum. Edgerton Digital Collections: ’Doc’ Edgerton, Visionary Engineer)