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

Motorcyclists racing 75 miles cross country through Mojave Desert. (Photo by Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Bill Eppridge

"False sunset" during the Blitz, with Tower Bridge silhouetted against burning docks, London, 1940. (Photo by William Vandivert/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

William Vandivert

MIT student using a MAC computer for project study of artificial intelligence. (Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Leonard McCombe

Prisoners at San Quentin weightlifting in prison yard during recreation period. (Photo by Charles Steinheimer/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Charles Steinheimer

Tarsiers,an animal native to Indonesia and Philippines, eating a lizard alive. (Photo by Sam Shere/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Sam Shere

American movie producer, artist, and animator Walt Disney and fellow artist and animator Mary Blair sit on a balcony and draw on sketch pads while in South America. (Photo by Hart Preston/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Hart Preston