[Atomic Bomb Explosion]

Harold Edgerton American

Not on view

In the late 1930s Harold Edgerton, a professor of engineering at MIT, pioneered techniques of ultra-high-speed stroboscopic photography to reveal aspects of the moving world previously invisible to the naked eye-a speeding bullet eviscerating an apple, the graceful spiral of a golf stroke, the coronet formed by a falling drop of milk.
During World War II, Edgerton worked with the Atomic Energy Commission to develop a camera, the Rapatronic, capable of capturing the fleeting incandescent flash of a nuclear explosion. Edgerton and his assistants set up their equipment on a tower seven miles from a nuclear test site and, using exposures as short as one-billionth of a second, recorded this ominous glowing shape hovering like an alien life-form or a colossal balloon. Made when the dream of technology threatened to turn into a nightmare, Edgerton's haunting images of nuclear explosions help us visualize the inconceivable.

[Atomic Bomb Explosion], Harold Edgerton (American, 1903–1990), Gelatin silver print

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