He was a pioneer in strobe photography, using the technique to capture images of balloons during their bursting, or a bullet during its impact with an apple, for example. He was awarded a bronze medal by the Royal Photographic Society in 1934.
In 1937 he began a lifelong association with photographer Gjon Mili, who used strobe equipment, particularly "multiflash" strobe, to produce strikingly beautiful photographs, many of which appeared in Life Magazine.
He was a cofounder of the company EG&G, with Kenneth Germeshausen and Herbert Grier, in 1947. EG&G became a prime contractor for the Atomic Energy Commission and had a major role in testing nuclear weapons for the United States through the fifties and sixties.
His work was instrumental in the development of side-scan sonar technology, used to scan the sea floor for wrecks. Edgerton worked with the undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau. Edgerton participated in the discovery of the American Civil War battleship USS Monitor.
He was especially loved by MIT students for his willingness to teach and his kindness.