USA Science and Engineering Festival


Nominated by:
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Marine scientist and deep-sea explorer Edith (Edie) Widder sometimes can’t believe the beautiful, natural rewards of her job. Deep beneath the surface of the ocean in her submersible vehicle where the marine world is dark, quiet and peaceful, often all she has to do is sit back and be treated to a spectacular undersea light show: courtesy of the teeming sea life outside her window.

In her work, Edie studies bioluminescence, or living light.  To answer questions about how creatures in the ocean make and use light she develops special instruments that can measure and record the light, and new camera systems to allow scientists unobtrusive observation of deep-sea environments.  

“I can remember the first deep ocean dive I made in the single-person submersible named the Wasp,” says Edie.  When I turned out the lights and saw all the bioluminescence that seemed to be everywhere I looked, I was hooked.  The experience changed the course of my career. “ 

Edie’s’ work also combines her expertise in research and technological innovation with a commitment to stopping and reversing the degradation of our marine environment.
She is CEO, President and Senior Scientist of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) based in Ft. Pierce, Florida, an organization she co-founded in 2005 to protect aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain through the development of innovative technologies and science-based conservation action.

Read more about Dr. Edith Widder and more Nifty Fifty Nominees here.


  1. #1 Brad M.
    March 14, 2011

    That video is very eye opening. It makes you realize how much we don’t know about our own planet. I’ve always known that there are fish deep down that have a light system to navigate, but I never realized there were so many and there were different ways to have this light. When it first came out, I watched the “Planet Earth” series. I was fascinated by the deep sea episode because of all the fish they caught on film. I was also very impressed with the fish that found on this exploration. I think it’s amazing that there’s a fish that can shoot out a form of light. To me that’s beyond my understanding. I think this can open up a whole new world of deep sea exploration and studies. Either way, it’s cool to know that there are some pretty amazing creatures down there that we never knew about before.

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