Doc with his notebooks

Harold "Doc" Edgerton’s laboratory notebooks illustrate through notes, diagrams, data, and photographs the step-by-step evolution of Doc's innovative ideas from inspiration to hard work to finished plan or product. The notebook entries reveal the excitement generated at MIT by his early demonstrations of stroboscopic phenomena and, show how techniques developed by him to discover ways of improving industrial efficiency found useful applications in other areas.

The notebooks, approximately 8,400 pages, are a consistent record of Edgerton’s research activities in his MIT lab from 1930 to 1990. Doc also recorded personal diary entries regarding births, marriages, visits by friends, and recreation in his laboratory notebooks, sandwiched between entries containing complicated calculations and diagrams.

This digital archive provides the first online access to Harold Edgerton’s research notebooks held by MIT, constituting the material record of an extraordinary man who shaped public perception about science and technology.

The next and very important phase, beginning with the launch of the Museum exhibit in November 2009, is to add qualitative descriptions to these digital assets.