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

Charlie Chaplin on the set of his film "Limelight," 1952. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

W. Eugene Smith

Painter Jackson Pollock smoking as he squats on floor, applying paint to canvas in Long Island studio. (Photo by Martha Holmes/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Martha Holmes

Imperial Dam in California. (Photo by Horace Bristol/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Horace Bristol

Women marching in New York at the Women's Strike for Equality, a march in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

John Olson

Ballerinas at George Balanchine's American School of Ballet gathered around accompanist during rehearsal. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi reading next to a spinning wheel at home. (Photo by Margaret Bourke-White/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Margaret Bourke-White