Difference between revisions of "Ernst Abbe"

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en>Petri Krohn
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| field = [[Physicist]]
 
| field = [[Physicist]]
 
| work_institution = [[University of Jena]]
 
| work_institution = [[University of Jena]]
| alma_mater = [[University of Göttingen]]</br>[[University of Jena]]
+
| alma_mater = [[University of Göttingen]]<br>[[University of Jena]]
| doctoral_advisor = [[Wilhelm Eduard Weber]]</br>[[Karl Snell]]
+
| doctoral_advisor = [[Wilhelm Eduard Weber]]<br>[[Karl Snell]]
 
| doctoral_students = [[Heinrich Friedrich Weber]]
 
| doctoral_students = [[Heinrich Friedrich Weber]]
 +
| notable_students  = [[Gottlob Frege]]
 
| known_for  = [[Abbe refractometer]] <br /> [[Abbe number]]
 
| known_for  = [[Abbe refractometer]] <br /> [[Abbe number]]
 
| prizes =
 
| prizes =
| religion =   
+
| religion =   
 
| footnotes =  
 
| footnotes =  
 
}}
 
}}
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== Personal life ==
 
== Personal life ==
 
[[File:Else Abbe.png|left|thumb|Else Snell]]
 
[[File:Else Abbe.png|left|thumb|Else Snell]]
Abbe was born January 23, 1840 in [[Eisenach]], [[Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach]].<ref name="NDB">{{NDB|1|2|3|Abbe, Ernst Carl|Ewald Blasius}}</ref> He came from a humble home — his father was a foreman in a spinnery. Supported by his father's employer, Abbe was able to attend secondary school and to obtain the general qualification for university entrance with fairly good grades. By the time he left school, his scientific talent and his strong will had already become obvious. Thus, in spite of the family's strained financial situation, his father decided to support Abbe's studies at the Universities of [[Jena]] (1857–1859) and [[Göttingen]] (1859–1861).<ref name="NDB"/> During his time as a student, Abbe gave private lessons to improve his income. His father's employer continued to fund him. Abbe was awarded his [[Doctor of Philosophy|PhD]] in Göttingen on March 23, 1861. This was followed by two short assignments at the Göttingen [[observatory]] and at Physikalischer Verein in [[Frankfurt am Main|Frankfurt]] (an association of citizens interested in physics and chemistry that was founded by [[Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]] in 1824 and still exists today). On August 8, 1863 he qualified as a university lecturer at the University of Jena. In 1870, he accepted a contract as an extraordinary [[professor]] in Jena.<ref name="NDB"/> In 1871, he married Else Snell, daughter of the mathematician and physicist Karl Snell, one of Abbe's teachers. He became director of the Jena observatory in 1878. In 1889, he became a member of the [[Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities]]. He also was a member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences. He was relieved of his teaching duties at the University of Jena in 1891. Abbe died January 14, 1905 in Jena.<ref name="NDB"/>
+
Abbe was born January 23, 1840 in [[Eisenach]], [[Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach]].<ref name="NDB">{{NDB|1|2|3|Abbe, Ernst Carl|Ewald Blasius}}</ref> He came from a humble home — his father was a foreman in a spinnery. Supported by his father's employer, Abbe was able to attend secondary school and to obtain the general qualification for university entrance with fairly good grades. By the time he left school, his scientific talent and his strong will had already become obvious. Thus, in spite of the family's strained financial situation, his father decided to support Abbe's studies at the Universities of [[Jena]] (1857–1859) and [[Göttingen]] (1859–1861).<ref name="NDB"/> During his time as a student, Abbe gave private lessons to improve his income. His father's employer continued to fund him. Abbe was awarded his [[Doctor of Philosophy|PhD]] in Göttingen on March 23, 1861. This was followed by two short assignments at the Göttingen [[observatory]] and at Physikalischer Verein in [[Frankfurt am Main|Frankfurt]] (an association of citizens interested in physics and chemistry that was founded by [[Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]] in 1824 and still exists today). On August 8, 1863 he qualified as a university lecturer at the University of Jena. In 1870, he accepted a contract as an extraordinary [[professor]] of physics and mathematics in Jena.<ref name="NDB"/><ref name=EB>{{cite encyclopedia|last= |first= |authorlink= |editor-first= |editor-last= |editor-link= |encyclopedia=Encyclopedia Britannica|title=Abbe, Ernst |edition=15th |year=2010| publisher=Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.|volume=I: A-Ak - Bayes|location= Chicago, IL|isbn=978-1-59339-837-8|pages=11}}</ref> In 1871, he married Else Snell, daughter of the mathematician and physicist Karl Snell, one of Abbe's teachers. He became director of the Jena astronomical and meteorological observatories in 1878.<ref name=EB/> In 1889, he became a member of the [[Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities]]. He also was a member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences. He was relieved of his teaching duties at the University of Jena in 1891. Abbe died January 14, 1905 in Jena.<ref name="NDB"/>
  
 
== Life work ==
 
== Life work ==
[[File:Microscope_Zeiss_1879.jpg|thumb|upright|Microscope by Carl Zeiss (1879) with optics by Abbe]]
+
[[File:Microscope Zeiss 1879.jpg|thumb|upright|Microscope by Carl Zeiss (1879) with optics by Abbe]]
 
[[File:Stamps of Germany (BRD) 1968, MiNr 548.jpg|upright|thumb|German stamp of 1968]]
 
[[File:Stamps of Germany (BRD) 1968, MiNr 548.jpg|upright|thumb|German stamp of 1968]]
[[File:Abbe-Grab_kl.jpg|upright|thumb|Ernst Abbe, relief at his grave]]He designed the first [[refractometer]], which he described in a booklet published in 1874.<ref>{{cite book | author = Abbe, E. | title = Neue Apparate zur Bestimmung des Brechungs – und Zerstreuungsvermögens fester und fluüssiger Körper | year = 1874 | publisher = Mauke's Verlag | location = Jena }}</ref>  He created the [[Abbe number]], a measure of any [[Transparency (optics)|transparent]] material's variation of [[refractive index]] with [[wavelength]] and Abbe's criterion, which tests the hypothesis that a systematic trend exists in a set of observations (in terms of resolving power this criterion stipulates that an angular separation cannot be less than the ratio of the wavelength to the aperture diameter, see [[angular resolution]]).<ref>{{cite book | author = American Congress on Surveying and Mapping | title = Glossary of the mapping sciences | year = 1994 | publisher = American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing | location = Maryland }}</ref> Already a professor in [[Jena]], he was hired by [[Carl Zeiss]] to improve the manufacturing process of optical instruments, which back then was largely based on trial and error.  
+
[[File:Abbe-Grab kl.jpg|upright|thumb|Ernst Abbe, relief at his grave]]In 1866, he became a research director at the [[Carl Zeiss AG|Zeiss Optical Works]], and in 1868 he invented the [[Apochromat|apochromatic lens]], a microscope lens which eliminates both the primary and secondary color distortion.<ref name=EB/> He designed the first [[refractometer]], which he described in a booklet published in 1874.<ref>{{cite book | author = Abbe, E. | title = Neue Apparate zur Bestimmung des Brechungs – und Zerstreuungsvermögens fester und fluüssiger Körper | year = 1874 | publisher = Mauke's Verlag | location = Jena }}</ref>  He created the [[Abbe number]], a measure of any [[Transparency (optics)|transparent]] material's variation of [[refractive index]] with [[wavelength]] and Abbe's criterion, which tests the hypothesis, that a systematic trend exists in a set of observations (in terms of resolving power this criterion stipulates that an angular separation cannot be less than the ratio of the wavelength to the aperture diameter, see [[angular resolution]]).<ref>{{cite book | author = American Congress on Surveying and Mapping | title = Glossary of the mapping sciences | year = 1994 | publisher = American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing | location = Maryland }}</ref> Already a professor in [[Jena]], he was hired by [[Carl Zeiss]] to improve the manufacturing process of optical instruments, which back then was largely based on trial and error.
  
 
Abbe was the first to define the term [[Numerical Aperture]],<ref name="NA Est">{{Cite journal
 
Abbe was the first to define the term [[Numerical Aperture]],<ref name="NA Est">{{Cite journal
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| title = On the Estimation of Aperture in the Microscope
 
| title = On the Estimation of Aperture in the Microscope
 
| journal = Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society
 
| journal = Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society
| series = 2
+
| issue = 3
 
| year = 1881
 
| year = 1881
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=xe4BAAAAYAAJ&dq=Conditions%20of%20microsteroscopic%20vision%201%20Abbe&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false
+
| doi = 10.1111/j.1365-2818.1881.tb05909.x
}}</ref> as the sine of the half angle multiplied by the refractive index of the medium filling the space between the cover glass and front lens.  
+
}}</ref> as the sine of the half angle multiplied by the refractive index of the medium filling the space between the cover glass and front lens.
  
 
Abbe is credited by many for discovering the resolution limit of the microscope, and the formula (published in 1873)
 
Abbe is credited by many for discovering the resolution limit of the microscope, and the formula (published in 1873)
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| pages = 15–39
 
| pages = 15–39
 
| last = Helmholtz
 
| last = Helmholtz
| first = Herman
+
| first = Hermann
 
| title = On the Limits of the Optical Capacity of the Microscope
 
| title = On the Limits of the Optical Capacity of the Microscope
 
| journal = The Monthly microscopical journal
 
| journal = The Monthly microscopical journal
| year = 1876
+
| issue = 1
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=-DE4AAAAMAAJ&dq=optics%20limit%20abbe%20fripp&pg=PA15#v=onepage&q&f=false
+
|date=July 1876
}}</ref>, [[Helmholtz]] states this formula was first derived by [[Joseph Louis Lagrange]] who had died 61 years prior. Abbe was in the camp of the wide aperturists arguing that microscopic resolution is ultimately limited the aperture of the optics, but also argued that depending on application there are other parameters that should be weighted over the aperture in the design of objectives. In Abbe's 1874 paper, titled "A Contribution to the Theory of the Microscope and the nature of Microscopic Vision".,<ref>{{Cite journal
+
| doi = 10.1111/j.1365-2818.1876.tb05606.x
 +
}}</ref> [[Helmholtz]] states this formula was first derived by [[Joseph Louis Lagrange]], who had died 61 years prior. Abbe was in the camp of the wide aperturists, arguing that microscopic resolution is ultimately limited by the aperture of the optics, but also argued that depending on application there are other parameters that should be weighted over the aperture in the design of objectives. In Abbe's 1874 paper, titled "A Contribution to the Theory of the Microscope and the nature of Microscopic Vision",<ref>{{Cite journal
 
| volume = 1
 
| volume = 1
 
| pages = 200–261
 
| pages = 200–261
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| year = 1874
 
| year = 1874
 
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=TC8UAAAAYAAJ&dq=Bristol%20Naturalists%20Society%201875&pg=PA200#v=onepage&q&f=false
 
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=TC8UAAAAYAAJ&dq=Bristol%20Naturalists%20Society%201875&pg=PA200#v=onepage&q&f=false
}}</ref> Abbe states that the resolution of a microscope is inversely dependent on its aperture, but without proposing a formula for the resolution limit of a microscope.  
+
}}</ref> Abbe states that the resolution of a microscope is inversely dependent on its aperture, but without proposing a formula for the resolution limit of a microscope.
  
Although the first theoretical derivations of {{EquationNote|Eq. 1}} were published by others, it is fair to say that Abbe was the first to reach this conclusion experimentally. The objectives that the Abbe Zeiss collaboration were producing were of ideal ray geometry allowing Abbe to find that the aperture sets the upper limit of microscopic resolution, not the curvature and placement of the lenses. Abbe's first publication of {{EquationNote|Eq. 1}} occurred in 1882.<ref>{{Cite journal
+
Although the first theoretical derivations of {{EquationNote|Eq. 1}} were published by others, it is fair to say that Abbe was the first to reach this conclusion experimentally. The objectives that the Abbe Zeiss collaboration were producing were of ideal ray geometry, allowing Abbe to find that the aperture sets the upper limit of microscopic resolution, not the curvature and placement of the lenses. Abbe's first publication of {{EquationNote|Eq. 1}} occurred in 1882.<ref>{{Cite journal
 
| volume = 3
 
| volume = 3
| issue = 1
+
| issue = 6
 
| pages = 790–812
 
| pages = 790–812
 
| last = Abbe
 
| last = Abbe
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| series = 2
 
| series = 2
 
| year = 1883
 
| year = 1883
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=aHhJAAAAYAAJ&dq=The%20Relation%20of%20Aperture%20and%20Power%20in%20the%20Microscope%20abbe&pg=PA790#v=onepage&q&f=false
+
| doi = 10.1111/j.1365-2818.1883.tb05956.x
}}</ref> In this publication Abbe states that both his theoretical and experimental investigations confirmed {{EquationNote|Eq. 1}}. Abbe's contemporary H. E. Fripp, English translator of Abbe's and Helmholtz's papers, puts their contributions on equal footing.
+
}}</ref> In this publication Abbe states, that both his theoretical and experimental investigations confirmed {{EquationNote|Eq. 1}}. Abbe's contemporary H. E. Fripp, English translator of Abbe's and Helmholtz's papers, puts their contributions on equal footing.
 
   
 
   
In order to produce high quality objectives, Abbe made significant contributions into the diagnosis and correction of [[Optical aberration]]s, which is required for an objective to reach the resolution limit of {{EquationNote|Eq. 1}}. In addition to spherical aberration, Abbe discovered that the rays in optical systems must have constant angular magnification over their angular distribution to produce a diffraction limited spot, a principle known as the [[Abbe sine condition]].<ref name="NA Est"/>  
+
In order to produce high quality objectives, Abbe made significant contributions to the diagnosis and correction of [[Optical aberration]]s, which is required for an objective to reach the resolution limit of {{EquationNote|Eq. 1}}. In addition to spherical aberration, Abbe discovered that the rays in optical systems must have constant angular magnification over their angular distribution to produce a diffraction limited spot, a principle known as the [[Abbe sine condition]].<ref name="NA Est"/>
  
Abbe invented the [[Abbe condenser]], used for microscope illumination.<ref>{{cite web | title = Abbe, Ernst – Encyclopædia Britannica – Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service | url = http://wwwa.britannica.com/eb/article-9003239 | accessdate = 2008-05-11 }}</ref> During his association with [[Carl Zeiss]]' [[microscope]] works, he also introduced the [[Eight hour day|eight-hour workday]], in remembrance of the 14-hour workday of his own father.   
+
Abbe invented the [[Abbe condenser]], used for microscope illumination.<ref>{{cite web | title = Abbe, Ernst – Encyclopædia Britannica – Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service | url = http://wwwa.britannica.com/eb/article-9003239 | accessdate = 2008-05-11 }}</ref> During his association with [[Carl Zeiss]]' [[microscope]] works, he also introduced the [[Eight hour day|eight-hour workday]], in remembrance of the 14-hour workday of his own father.  In 1891, Ernst set up and endowed the [[Carl Zeiss Foundation]] for research in science.<ref name=EB/> In 1896, he reorganized the Zeiss optical woks into a cooperative with profit-sharing.
  
 
The crater [[Abbe (crater)|Abbe]] on the [[Moon]] was named in his honour.
 
The crater [[Abbe (crater)|Abbe]] on the [[Moon]] was named in his honour.
  
 
== Bibliography ==
 
== Bibliography ==
Abbe was a pioneer in optics, lens design, and microscopy, and an authority of his time. He left us with numerous publications of his findings, inventions, and discoveries. Below is a list of publications he authored including many links to the scanned Google Books pages.  
+
Abbe was a pioneer in optics, lens design, and microscopy, and an authority of his time. He left us with numerous publications of his findings, inventions, and discoveries. Below is a list of publications he authored including many links to the scanned Google Books pages.
  
 
{{Cite journal
 
{{Cite journal
Line 345: Line 347:
 
{{Cite journal
 
{{Cite journal
 
| volume = 1
 
| volume = 1
 +
| issue = 3
 
| pages = 388–423
 
| pages = 388–423
 
| last = Abbe
 
| last = Abbe
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| title = On the Estimation of Aperture in the Microscope
 
| title = On the Estimation of Aperture in the Microscope
 
| journal = Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society
 
| journal = Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society
| series = 2
 
 
| year = 1881
 
| year = 1881
 
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=xe4BAAAAYAAJ&dq=Conditions%20of%20microsteroscopic%20vision%201%20Abbe&pg=PA388#v=onepage&q&f=false
 
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=xe4BAAAAYAAJ&dq=Conditions%20of%20microsteroscopic%20vision%201%20Abbe&pg=PA388#v=onepage&q&f=false
Line 405: Line 407:
 
{{Cite journal
 
{{Cite journal
 
| volume = 2
 
| volume = 2
| issue = 1
+
| issue = 3
 
| pages = 300–309
 
| pages = 300–309
 
| last = Abbe
 
| last = Abbe
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| title = The Relation of Aperture and Power in the Microscope
 
| title = The Relation of Aperture and Power in the Microscope
 
| journal = Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society
 
| journal = Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society
| series = 2
 
 
| year = 1882
 
| year = 1882
 
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=KPQVAAAAYAAJ&dq=Journal%20of%20Microscopy%201881%20%22The%20Relation%20of%20Aperture%20and%20Power%20in%20the%20Microscope%22&pg=PA300#v=onepage&q&f=false
 
| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=KPQVAAAAYAAJ&dq=Journal%20of%20Microscopy%201881%20%22The%20Relation%20of%20Aperture%20and%20Power%20in%20the%20Microscope%22&pg=PA300#v=onepage&q&f=false
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}}
 
}}
  
{{Cite
+
{{Citation
 
| last = Abbe
 
| last = Abbe
 
| first = Ernst
 
| first = Ernst
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}}
 
}}
  
{{Cite
+
{{Citation
 
| last = Abbe
 
| last = Abbe
 
| first = Ernst
 
| first = Ernst
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* {{cite journal | last = Gunther | first = N. | title = Abbe, Ernst | journal = [[Dictionary of Scientific Biography]] | year = 1970 | location = New York, NY, USA | publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons | volume = 1 | pages = 6–9 }}
 
* {{cite journal | last = Gunther | first = N. | title = Abbe, Ernst | journal = [[Dictionary of Scientific Biography]] | year = 1970 | location = New York, NY, USA | publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons | volume = 1 | pages = 6–9 }}
  
* {{cite journal | author = Sella, Andrea | title = Abbé's refractometer | journal = Chemistry World | year = 2008 | month = November | page = 67 | url = http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2008/November/AbbesRefractometer.asp}}
+
* {{cite journal | author = Sella, Andrea | title = Abbé's refractometer | journal = Chemistry World |date=November 2008 | page = 67 | url = http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2008/November/AbbesRefractometer.asp}}
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
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* {{gutenberg author | id=Ernst_Abbe | name=Ernst Abbe}}
 
* {{gutenberg author | id=Ernst_Abbe | name=Ernst Abbe}}
 
* [http://www.musoptin.com/abbe_ref_2028.html Abbe Refractometer] by Carl Zeiss made in 1904
 
* [http://www.musoptin.com/abbe_ref_2028.html Abbe Refractometer] by Carl Zeiss made in 1904
 +
 +
{{Authority control|VIAF=19744386}}
  
 
<!-- Metadata: see [[Wikipedia:Persondata]] -->
 
<!-- Metadata: see [[Wikipedia:Persondata]] -->
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[[Category:German physicists]]
 
[[Category:German physicists]]
 
[[Category:Optical physicists]]
 
[[Category:Optical physicists]]
 +
[[Category:Optical engineers]]
 
[[Category:History of glass]]
 
[[Category:History of glass]]
 
[[Category:Glass engineering and science]]
 
[[Category:Glass engineering and science]]
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[[Category:University of Jena alumni]]
 
[[Category:University of Jena alumni]]
 
[[Category:University of Jena faculty]]
 
[[Category:University of Jena faculty]]
[[Category:Carl Zeiss Jena]]
+
[[Category:Carl Zeiss AG]]
 
+
[[Category:Lens designers]]
[[ar:إرنست كارل آب]]
 
[[az:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[bg:Ернст Карл Аббе]]
 
[[bs:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[ca:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[cs:Ernst Karl Abbe]]
 
[[co:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[da:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[de:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[et:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[es:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[fa:ارنست کارل آبه]]
 
[[fr:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[gl:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[hy:Էռնստ Աբբե]]
 
[[hr:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[it:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[he:ארנסט אבה]]
 
[[pam:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[ka:ერნსტ აბე]]
 
[[ht:Ernst Karl Abbe]]
 
[[lv:Ernsts Abe]]
 
[[lb:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[hu:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[ml:ഏണസ്റ്റ് അബീ]]
 
[[nl:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[ja:エルンスト・アッベ]]
 
[[pl:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[pt:Ernst Karl Abbe]]
 
[[ro:Ernst Karl Abbe]]
 
[[ru:Аббе, Эрнст]]
 
[[sq:Ernst Abe]]
 
[[sk:Ernst Karl Abbe]]
 
[[sl:Ernst Karl Abbe]]
 
[[fi:Ernst Karl Abbe]]
 
[[sv:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[tr:Ernst Abbe]]
 
[[uk:Ернст Аббе]]
 
[[zh:恩斯特·阿贝]]
 

Revision as of 21:49, 15 January 2014

Template:Infobox scientist Ernst Karl Abbe (January 23, 1840 – January 14, 1905) was a German physicist, optometrist, entrepreneur, and social reformer. Together with Otto Schott and Carl Zeiss, he laid the foundation of modern optics. Abbe developed numerous optical instruments. He was a co-owner of Carl Zeiss AG, a German manufacturer of research microscopes, astronomical telescopes, planetariums and other optical systems.

Personal life

Else Snell

Abbe was born January 23, 1840 in Eisenach, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.[1] He came from a humble home — his father was a foreman in a spinnery. Supported by his father's employer, Abbe was able to attend secondary school and to obtain the general qualification for university entrance with fairly good grades. By the time he left school, his scientific talent and his strong will had already become obvious. Thus, in spite of the family's strained financial situation, his father decided to support Abbe's studies at the Universities of Jena (1857–1859) and Göttingen (1859–1861).[1] During his time as a student, Abbe gave private lessons to improve his income. His father's employer continued to fund him. Abbe was awarded his PhD in Göttingen on March 23, 1861. This was followed by two short assignments at the Göttingen observatory and at Physikalischer Verein in Frankfurt (an association of citizens interested in physics and chemistry that was founded by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1824 and still exists today). On August 8, 1863 he qualified as a university lecturer at the University of Jena. In 1870, he accepted a contract as an extraordinary professor of physics and mathematics in Jena.[1][2] In 1871, he married Else Snell, daughter of the mathematician and physicist Karl Snell, one of Abbe's teachers. He became director of the Jena astronomical and meteorological observatories in 1878.[2] In 1889, he became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He also was a member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences. He was relieved of his teaching duties at the University of Jena in 1891. Abbe died January 14, 1905 in Jena.[1]

Life work

Microscope by Carl Zeiss (1879) with optics by Abbe
German stamp of 1968
Ernst Abbe, relief at his grave

In 1866, he became a research director at the Zeiss Optical Works, and in 1868 he invented the apochromatic lens, a microscope lens which eliminates both the primary and secondary color distortion.[2] He designed the first refractometer, which he described in a booklet published in 1874.[3] He created the Abbe number, a measure of any transparent material's variation of refractive index with wavelength and Abbe's criterion, which tests the hypothesis, that a systematic trend exists in a set of observations (in terms of resolving power this criterion stipulates that an angular separation cannot be less than the ratio of the wavelength to the aperture diameter, see angular resolution).[4] Already a professor in Jena, he was hired by Carl Zeiss to improve the manufacturing process of optical instruments, which back then was largely based on trial and error.

Abbe was the first to define the term Numerical Aperture,[5] as the sine of the half angle multiplied by the refractive index of the medium filling the space between the cover glass and front lens.

Abbe is credited by many for discovering the resolution limit of the microscope, and the formula (published in 1873)

Template:NumBlk

although in another early appearance of this formula in a publication in 1874 by Helmholtz,[6] Helmholtz states this formula was first derived by Joseph Louis Lagrange, who had died 61 years prior. Abbe was in the camp of the wide aperturists, arguing that microscopic resolution is ultimately limited by the aperture of the optics, but also argued that depending on application there are other parameters that should be weighted over the aperture in the design of objectives. In Abbe's 1874 paper, titled "A Contribution to the Theory of the Microscope and the nature of Microscopic Vision",[7] Abbe states that the resolution of a microscope is inversely dependent on its aperture, but without proposing a formula for the resolution limit of a microscope.

Although the first theoretical derivations of Template:EquationNote were published by others, it is fair to say that Abbe was the first to reach this conclusion experimentally. The objectives that the Abbe Zeiss collaboration were producing were of ideal ray geometry, allowing Abbe to find that the aperture sets the upper limit of microscopic resolution, not the curvature and placement of the lenses. Abbe's first publication of Template:EquationNote occurred in 1882.[8] In this publication Abbe states, that both his theoretical and experimental investigations confirmed Template:EquationNote. Abbe's contemporary H. E. Fripp, English translator of Abbe's and Helmholtz's papers, puts their contributions on equal footing.

In order to produce high quality objectives, Abbe made significant contributions to the diagnosis and correction of Optical aberrations, which is required for an objective to reach the resolution limit of Template:EquationNote. In addition to spherical aberration, Abbe discovered that the rays in optical systems must have constant angular magnification over their angular distribution to produce a diffraction limited spot, a principle known as the Abbe sine condition.[5]

Abbe invented the Abbe condenser, used for microscope illumination.[9] During his association with Carl Zeiss' microscope works, he also introduced the eight-hour workday, in remembrance of the 14-hour workday of his own father. In 1891, Ernst set up and endowed the Carl Zeiss Foundation for research in science.[2] In 1896, he reorganized the Zeiss optical woks into a cooperative with profit-sharing.

The crater Abbe on the Moon was named in his honour.

Bibliography

Abbe was a pioneer in optics, lens design, and microscopy, and an authority of his time. He left us with numerous publications of his findings, inventions, and discoveries. Below is a list of publications he authored including many links to the scanned Google Books pages.

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See also

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References

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Further reading

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External links

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