He learned photography from a relative and built himself a darkroom in his home. While working for a power company, his interest in the generation of electricity helped him decide what he wanted to be. He chose Electrical Engineering as his major in college.
At graduate school at MIT in 1926, he earned an S.M. (1927) and D.Sc. (1931), Edgerton began working with the stroboscope. A stroboscope generates brief, repeating bursts of light, which allow an observer to view quickly moving objects in a series of static, as-if frozen images. Edgerton invented ultra-high-speed and stop-action photography from this example.
Edgerton's photographs using his new type of photographing events were winning him fame around the world. His "Coronet" milk drop photo was featured in the New York Museum of Modern Art's first photography exhibit.
|Harold E. Edgerton|
In 1953, Edgerton entered another area of inventing, when he began a longtime collaboration with fellow inventor Jacques-Yves Cousteau in underwater exploration. Edgerton performed the first-ever underwater time-lapse photography (1968); he also invented various sonar devices, including the "thumper," which analyzed the rock of the sea bed (1960), and the "boomer," which gave a seismic profile of the sea floor (1961). Edgerton also located and explored numerous underwater ruins and shipwrecks (1966-85): in fact, the first detailed photographs of the Titanic were taken with a camera designed by him (1987).