Video: Celebrating the Edgerton Center, an Original MIT Makerspace

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on May 26, 2017 · 0 comments

in Campus, Student Life

The Edgerton Center, opened as one of MIT’s original makerspaces in 1992, has grown into a home for students who build rockets and robots as well as a valued resource for high-speed photography and K-12 outreach.

Even 25 years later, the center’s namesake, the late Harold “Doc” Edgerton, is legendary. He was an MIT professor of electrical engineering renowned for his work in high-speed imaging as well as sonar and deep-sea photography. In a quirky appearance on Late Night TV in 1985, Doc explained strobe photography to America. And he also had a deeply personal investment in the wellbeing of his students. And the center has provided support for many students, including Jonathan Downey ’06, who founded Airware, a startup that helps companies make strategic use of commercial drones.

An MIT News article on the 25th anniversary reported how students still use Edgerton’s guiding principles such as “You have to try out your ideas for yourself, and you never get it right the first time around.”

“This is a very safe space to fail,” said Jacqueline Sly ’14. “Often, what the outside world is looking for is your reaction to failure and what kind of creativity you have.” Sly took her MIT-acquired engineering know-how to NASA and is now an engineer in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Extreme Environment Robotics Group.

MIT students get support for the SpaceX Hyperloop competition from the Edgerton Center.

MIT students get support for the SpaceX Hyperloop competition from the Edgerton Center.

The Edgerton Center provides support for students, teams, and student workshops with CNC machines plus these opportunities:

Academics include courses, undergraduate research, and a one-week program designed for scientists, engineers, and photographers.

High-speed imaging includes new photographs, high-speed video, online resources, and courses. (Doc’s image collection can be found in the Edgerton Digital Collections.)

K-12 program provides hands-on science and engineering challenges to educate and inspire students both in campus programs and by supporting teachers and off campus programs.

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