Celebrating 24 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
more quiz questions >>
Thumbnail of Harold E. Edgerton (source)
Harold E. Edgerton
(6 Apr 1903 - 4 Jan 1990)

American engineer and ultra-high-speed photographer known for freezing time by developing ultra-high-speed photography using a strobe light, to make visible that which happened too fast for the eye to see.

Harold E. Edgerton
“Don't make me out to be an artist. I am an engineer.”

Illustrated Quote - Large (800 x 400 px)

“Don't make me out to be an artist. I am an engineer. I am after the facts, only the facts.”
— Harold E. Edgerton
In Stopping Time: The Photographs of Harold Edgerton (1987)

More Harold E. Edgerton quotes on science >>

This quote is found in several books about the work of high-speed photography pioneer, Harold Edgeton. In each case it shows how Edgerton always asserted himself as a scientist. Nevertheless, the art world also admired his “consistently compelling body of work”1 comprising some of the “most remarkable time-motion photographs ever made.”2 This is not surprising, for his facts had a beauty, just as 19th century mathematicians could admire the beauty in an elegant formula.

Edgerton spent his entire career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Having invented ultra high flash speeds in the range of one millionth of a second, his multiple-exposure photographs could freeze motion with short stroboscopic bursts of intense light, and reveal the details of motion far beyond the capability of the human eye to detect. When he calculated the speed at which a crack spread through plate glass, it was nearly a mile a second!3

1 San Jose Museum of Art, Into the 21st century: selections from the permanent collection, San Jose Museum of Art, May 23-September 12, 1999 (1999), 25.
2 Joseph Meehan, Capturing Time & Motion: The Dynamic Language of Digital Photography (2009), 33.
3 Nancy A. Anderson, Michael R. Dietric,The Educated Eye: Visual Culture and Pedagogy in the Life Sciences (2012), 196. The footnote cites Harold E. Edgerton and Kenneth J. Germeshausen, 'The Mercury Arc as an Actinic Stroboscopic Light Source', Review of Scientific Instruments (1932), 3, 535-542; F.E. Bastow and Harold E. Edgerton, 'Glass Fracture Velocity', Journal of the American Ceramics Society (1939), 22, 302-307.

As quoted, without source, in Gus Kayafas and Estelle Jussim, Stopping Time: The Photographs of Harold Edgerton (1987), 18.

See also:

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)

Thank you for sharing.
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.