Ed Hagerott was born in Bismarck and raised in Mandan, North Dakota. After graduating from Mandan High School in 1956, he attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. His summers during these college years were spent working as a surveyor on the North Dakota State Highway Department.
After graduating from St. John’s in 1960 with his BA Physics degree, Ed went to work in Paul Halderman’s optics group at Northrop Nortronics in Hawthorne, California. Paul immediately sent Ed to the Technical Book store on Spring Street in Los Angeles to buy copies of Conrady’s “Applied Optics and Optical Design”, Vol I and II, as well as a copy of Peter’s seven place trig tables. Ed did a considerable amount of raytracing with the Conrady (L,U) method on a Frieden calculator. Coworkers at Nortronics were Paul Glamkowski and Tom Godfrey. Tom and Ed took Walter Wallin’s optical design course at UCLA together.
Ed then accepted a position in Hank Frels’ optics group at Hughes Aircraft, Culver City. He was mentored by Marcel Gawartin and did optical design using the Luneberg (h,theta) raytrace method. Co-workers at HAC include Victor Beelik, Jerry Rosenblatt, Irving Sandback, Bob Ginsberg, and Ervin (Brad ) Bradley.
Since Wallin’s course was the only optical design course offered on the west coast at that time, Ed applied to the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, NY. He received the American Optical fellowship and received his MS optics degree in 1965. Ed felt fortunate that he was able to take both semesters of Kingslake’s optics class as well as both semesters of Robert Hopkins’ computer-aided optical design courses. For his master’s thesis, Ed constructed a rotational shearing interferometer under the direction of Dr. M.V.K.Murty.
Ed then went to Itek in Lexington, Massachusetts and worked in groups headed initially by Bob Shannon and then, Robert Hilbert. Co-workers included Bob Fischer, now president of Optics 1, David Shafer, east coast consultant, Don Dilworth who wrote Synopsis, and Chuck Rimmer and Mark Kahan, now with Optical Research. After Itek, Ed accepted a position with Optical Research Associates in Pasadena, CA in 1968. In his ten years at ORA, Ed learned a lot about optical design from Tom Harris, especially correction of secondary spectrum, and a lot about zoom lens design from Darryl Gustafson.
After ORA, Ed accepted a senior scientist position in Russ Temple’s group at Xeros EOS. In 1982, he became the manager of optical engineering at AeroJet ElectroSystems in Azusa, CA. In 1990, Ed spent a year at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, but didn’t care for the Livermore area.
Ed then accepted a position at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA in Dr. James B. Breckinridge’s optics group as a principal engineer and the supervisor of optical technology in the Space Instruments Section. Ed was also the Cognizant Optical Engineer for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) optics. He retired on May 7, 2004, after being at JPL for thirteen years.
Ed died on January 16, 2010. He is survived by, Rosemary, his wife of over forty years and his two children, Ed Jr., a real estate attorney in Los Angeles, and Katherine, a nurse in Burbank.