Photographer Fritz Goro with his camera. (Photo by Oscar Graubner/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Photographer Fritz Goro with his camera. (Photo by Oscar Graubner/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould called Fritz Goro (1901-1986), “the most influential photographer that science journalism (and science in general) has ever known.” This German emigre originally studied sculpture at the Bauhaus Art School before turning his full attention to what had been his long-time hobby. Over the course of his distinguished career, he was involved in numerous firsts, including still pictures of blood circulation in animals and photos of the first plutonium ever produced. Goro approached his subjects with endless patience, and his work documented significant scientific breakthroughs as the diligent photographer sought to “translate” them for the average person.

Red laser light focused through a lens blasts a pin-point hole through a razor blade in a thousandth of a second. (Photo by Fritz Goro/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Red laser light focused through a lens blasts a pin-point hole through a razor blade in a thousandth of a second. (Photo by Fritz Goro/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

The problems in subduing laser light for a still photograph seemed insurmountable in 1963. After all, a laser’s flash is measured in thousandths of a second, so even with a time exposure it seemed improbable that it could register on any available color film. After hundreds of experiments, Goro tried using a razor blade as a triggering device, and this photo was achieved.

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Handful of microelectronic parts. (Photo by Oscar Fritz Goro/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Handful of microelectronic parts. (Photo by Oscar Fritz Goro/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Technician at Washington State University measuring lumps of cow fetuses. (Photo by Oscar Fritz Goro/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Technician at Washington State University measuring lumps of cow fetuses. (Photo by Oscar Fritz Goro/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

More Like This

Girls of the Children's School of Modern Dancing, rehearsing on the beach. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Lisa Larsen

President Harry S. Truman waving his hat as he holds up a king salmon while fishing with others on Puget Sound. (Photo by George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

George Skadding

Elvis and Priscilla leave the house he and his family occupied in Bad Nauheim, Germany. (Photo by James Whitmore/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

James Whitmore

Sassy, plump baby chicks heralding the spring. (Photo by Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Wallace Kirkland

Children in blitzed north of England eating meal from bread and Lease Lend cheese. (Photo by Hans Wild/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Hans Wild

Writer Niven Busch lying on sofa with newspaper over his face as he takes nap from screenwriting. (Photo by Paul Dorsey/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Paul Dorsey