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ERNST ABBE, born January 23, 1840, was the
PROF. ERNST ABBE.
results, and was one source of the success of the FORTY Years' PROGRESS, 1866-1905.
Zeiss microscope. From it, among other consequences, le deduced the importance of what is now
known the numerical aperture, the quantity foreman
H sin a, where u is the refractive index of the first Eisenach. He was a student at Jena and Göttingen, lens of the object glass, and 2a is the angle which graduating at the latter university with a thesis on that lens subtends at the point where the axis of the the mechanical equivalent of heat. After teaching system cuts the object plane. for some time at Frankfort-on-Main, he established But the assistance given by the new theory was himself at Jena in 1863 as a privat docent in mathe- not alone sufficient to solve the problem. It had long matics, physics, and astronomy, taking for a special been known that when the best glasses then obtainsubject of instruction the theory of errors. In 1870 able were combined to form an achromatic system, a he was appointed an extraordinary professor. In secondary spectrum remained, and until this could be 1874 there was a proposal to establish a physical removed it was hopeless to look for perfection in the laboratory at Jena, and Abbe was offered the pro image. fessorship of physics, but his connection with Carl The experiments of Stokes and Harcourt had been Zeiss had then begun, and he was compelled to de- directed to the discovery of glasses free from this cline the offer. He had married in 1871 the daughter defect, and Abbe and Zeiss in their early days made of Prof. Snell, and has left two daughters.
many attempts in the same direction, using in some Carl Zeiss had established himself at Jena in 1846 cases liquid lenses to secure the desired end. as a manufacturer of optical instruments; for some In 1876 the South Kensington Loan Exhibition of years the business prospered, his microscopes were as Scientific Apparatus took place, and Abbe came over good as those of other makers, probably neither better to inspect it. In his report, published in 1878, he nor worse; but Zeiss was not satisfied; he felt that writes :-“ The future of the microscope as regards the microscope ought to be improved, and in further improvement in its dioptric qualities seems to endeavouring to effect improvement he realised the lie chiefly in the hands of the glass maker," and deficiency of his own equipment; after one other then he explains in what direction changes are reunsuccessful attempt he enlisted Abbe's help in his quired and how difficult it is to introduce them. work.
This report of Abbe's fell into the hands of Dr. The partnership which has had so remarkable an Otto Schott, a glass maker of Witten, in Westeffect on the manufacture of optical instruments phalia. Schott communicated with Abbe in 1881, and began in 1866. Abbe's task was a hard one; the commenced his investigations into the subject. Next theory of the microscope was at that date only year he removed to Jena, and, aided by a large grant partially understood; the corrections to the lenses from the Prussian Minister of Education, the experiwere made by a rough trial and error method, and ments were satisfactorily concluded, and the firm of the results were doubtful; the first step was to solve Schott and Co. was established; in 1884 he was in a a mathematical problem of no small difficulty, and position to commence the wholesale production of trace the path of the light through the complex lenses optical glass. The combination was now complete. of a microscope objective.
To-day it is difficult," as Prof. Auerbach writes in Abbe soon found out the defects of the ordinary his recent work on the Carl Zeiss Stiftung in Jena, theory, and was led in 1870 to what is now known to think of the Optical Works without the Glass as the Abbe theory of microscopic vision; unfortu- Works, or vice versa." nately, no complete account of that theory from his From this time onwards Abbe's time was fully own pen has yet been printed, though the “ Collected occupied in developing the new undertaking; the Papers of Ernst Abbe," of which the first volume was history of his life would be the history of the works, published last year under the skilful editorship of and in the Zeiss instruments, known throughout the Dr. Czapski, and noticed in these pages recently world, his monument is to be found. (NATURE, vol. Ixix. p. 497), go far to fill the gap, But in many ways the latter years of his life are and it is to be hoped that Dr. Czapski himself or not the least interesting. Carl Zeiss died in 1888; some other member of the Jena staff will now be in next year his son Roderick retired from business, and a position to give the complete theory to the world. Abbe was left sole proprietor of the optical works. It is not necessary here to discuss the controversy In 1891 he created a kind of trust known as the Carl which has arisen over the matter, due in great Zeiss Stiftung, to which he ceded all his proprietary measure an incomplete representation of the rights, both in the optical and also in the glass works. problem and to a misconception of the theory.
The story of the Carl Zeiss Stiftung as told by It is clear that if we can treat the object as self- Prof. Auerbach is a very striking one. The statutes, luminous, or if we know the distribution of light due to Abbe himself, which were confirmed by the with respect to both intensity and phase over the Grand Duke of Saxony in 1896, and have the force object plane, then we may start from the object as of law, can up to 1906 be modified by a simple proour source, and the principles of the wave-theory, as cedure; afterwards legal action is practically required Lord Rayleigh has shown, will allow us to determine to render a change valid. the distribution in the view plane. If, however, the The works are a great cooperative concern.
"" To distribution in the object plane is unknown, provide a large number of people with the most must go back to the source, consider how the light favourable opportunities for labour is both the means from the source is modified both by the object and and the end of the Stiftung. The individuals who the lenses, and from this infer what the resulting benefit by it are at the same time those who mainimage will be like.
tain and increase it. The officials and workmen Diffraction patterns will be formed practically in employed at the optical works; the community and the second focal plane of the object glass, and the the university contribute their share towards the indistribution of the light in the image can, theo- crease of the value of the property, and these, thereretically at any rate, be deduced from a knowledge fore, are entitled to participate in the benefits.” The of the intensity and phase of the disturbance in these university alone will shortly have received 100,000l. patterns.
from the scheme. This theory, at any rate, led Abbe to most valuable The Stiftung is managed by the Stiftung Adminis.
tration; on this the Saxon Government appoints a with whom mechanical art was a conspicuous gift, representative or trustee whose duty it is to see that constructed their own instruments, and laboured to the statutes are obeyed; the works are supervised by complete the ecliptic charts on which Chacornac had boards of management appointed by the adminis- worked, how their systematic work and diligence tration.
added to the number of small planets, and how, The employés possess the right of combination ; | finally, the necessity was forced upon them of adopt, they can be represented by their own committees, ing improved methods in registering the places of which may address the administration direct on any stars in the crowded regions of the heavens. The subject relating to the affairs of the concern, They history of the “ International Chart of the Heavens," are paid by piece-work, with a minimum time wage, which has taxed the resources of so many observa and there is in the scheme a proviso by which no atories, was the outcome of their skill and resource. one, even though a member of the board of manage- Not only did they provide the optical parts of the ment, can receive a salary greater than ten times instruments that were employed in many observe the average yearly earnings of workers of twenty- atories, but they laboured zealously on the zone four years and over who have been at least three allotted to the Paris Observatory, and it is believed years with the firm. Moreover, when an employé brought their share to a successful issue. They led has once received a certain wage and drawn it for the way in the photographic examination of clusters one year his wage cannot be reduced because of like the Pleiades, and showed to others how un. slackness of trade. In addition to the wages calcu- suspected nebulæ might be detected. lated on the work done, every worker receives a share A new era of activity opened for astronomy in the of the profits depending in any year on the net sum general application of photography, and few have realised. There is also a liberal pension scheme, contributed more to the harvest of results that has under which every employé who enters the works followed that activity than have the brothers Henri. before his fortieth year is entitled, after five years' They not only supplied the instruments with which service, to a pension calculated at a rate which the negatives were taken, but they suggested devices reaches 75 per cent. of his salary at the end of forty for the construction of measuring machines by which years' service, while the widows and orphans of these negatives could be discussed. The reputation employés have also pension rights. Finally, the of one and both rests on their photographic work. working day is eight hours, and Abbe has put it Smaller work, such as the careful and accurate de on record in an address, delivered in 1901 to the lineation of planetary markings, the observation of Social Science Association, that in the case of 233 minute satellites, and the more ordinary routine of piece-workers about whom accurate statistics could observatory work, are all forgotten in the large share be taken the total output was increased by 4 per cent. taken in the application of photography to celestial in the first year that followed the change from nine measurement. His colleagues in the observatory to eight hours.
spoke of the many excellent qualities that disSuch has been Ernst Abbe's work; until 1903 he tinguished M. Prosper Henri as a colleague and remained an active member of the board of manage- friend, and one is sure that no less kindly expressions ment of the optical works; then he retired, partly will be used towards M. Paul Henri, who has enjoyed on account of the state of his health, partly, if his the confidence and respect of all the directors of the health improved, to devote himself to his scientific Paris Observatory who have followed M. Le Verrier. work. The improvement hoped for never came, and
W. E. P. he died last week, leaving it to the trained band of workers he had gathered round him to continue his task, and to show still further what can be done by
NOTES. the organised application of science to industry and The cross of officer of the Legion of Honour has been manufactures.
R. T. G.
conferred, La Nature states, upon Dr. Otto Nordenskjöld
for his South Polar explorations. Mrs. Bullock Workman M. PAUL HENRI.
has been appointed Officier de l'Instruction publique for
her travels in the Himalayas. ABOUT the year 1864, two brothers entered the
meteorological department of the Paris Observ- The autumn meeting of the Iron and Steel Institute atory, and for nearly forty years laboured with zeal is to be held this year in Sheffield for the first time. and success to promote the best interests of that Mr. R. A. Hadfield has been elected to succeed Mr. institution and of astronomical science generally. In Andrew Carnegie as president of the institute. The visit the autumn of 1903, one brother, M. Prosper Henri, will take place during the week beginning September 23. died suddenly on a holiday tour, and we now have
The most influential members of the Sheffield steel inthe melancholy duty of chronicling the death of the
dustry have associated themselves with the invitation to second brother, M. Paul Henri. It is necessary to recall the close and intimate relations that existed
the institute, and a committee has been formed, of which between these two, because the scientific life of one
the Lord Mayor of Sheffield and the Master Cutler are was that of the other. No one has ever thought of
chairman and vice-chairman respectively, Colonel H. them separately, no one has ever attempted to dis
Hughes, C.M.G., has been appointed chairman of the criminate between their successes and their triumphs. reception committee, with Mr. J. Rossiter Hovle as The same day (November 8, 1889) they were both honorary secretary. Mr. Frank Huntsman-who is, we elected associates of the Royal Astronomical Society, learn from the Times, a descendant of the Huntsman who and other instances of similar recognition of their founded the Sheffield industry of melting steel in pots united work might be quoted. We may quote the about 170 years ago—will act as honorary treasurer, and words of the late M. Callandreau of these two :
Mr. John Wortley as honorary assistant secretary. “ si unis que nous ne voyons souvent en eux qu'une seule personne pour ainsi dire, si oublieux de faire On Thursday next, February 2, Prof. W. Schlich will ressortir leur mérites respectifs qu'il est difficile de
deliver the first of a course of two lectures at the Royal distinguer ce qui peut appartenir à chacun dans Institution on “ Forestry in the British Empire." The l'auvre commune."
discourse on Friday, February 3, will be delivered by Prof. It is an oft-told tale to recall how these brothers, T. Clifford Allbutt on Blood Pressure in Man."
The International Congress of Psychology will meet this Writing from Amsterdam, Dr. C. M. van Deventer year at Rome on April 26–30. We learn from the British desires to direct attention to an interesting fact observed Medical Journal that there will be four sections. The by a schoolboy. Two
years ago, during a lesson in section of experimental psychology, the president of which physics given at the high school at Batavia, one of the is Prof. G. Fano, of Florence, will deal with psychology boys, called Van Erpecum, told Dr. Deventer, as in its relations to anatomy and physiology, psycho-physics, observation of his own, that the water in a glass, filled and comparative psychology. That of introspective psycho- to the brim with water and floating ice, does not flow logy will, under the presidency of Prof. R. Ardigo, of over when the ice melts. The observation Padua, devote itself to psychology in its relations to philo- municated to Profs. Van der Waals and Zeeman, who sophical sciences. The section of pathological psychology, l judged it worthy of being the subject of a note presented the president of which is Prof. E. Morselli, of Genoa, by them to the Royal Academy of Amsterdam. Dr. will discuss hypnotism, suggestion, and analogous pheno- Deventer says that the observation of his pupil tells only mena, and psycho-therapeutics. The programme of the the half of the phenomenon—the truth being that the section of criminal, pædagogic, and social psychology, which water neither rises nor sinks. He therefore states the is under the presidency of Prof. Lombroso, of Turin, has proposition that “In a vessel containing water and foatnot yet been published. The president of the congress is ing ice, the level stays at the same height when the ice Prof. Giuseppe Sergi, of Rome; the general secretary, Dr. melts. Or, speaking more generally,
When a vessel Sante de Sanctis, to whom all communications relative to contains a solid floating in its own liquid, the level of the meeting should be addressed
Istituto the latter does not change by the melting of the solid." Fisiologico, 92 Via Depretis, Rome.
This proposition Dr. Deventer proposes to call the “ law We are informed that Dr. Carl Otto Weber, the well
of the permanent level." The law can be deduced from known chemical authority on india-rubber, died suddenly
Archimedes's principle; but it is only rigorously exact on January 14 at his residence in Massachusetts, U.S.A.
when the weight of the air is neglected. On November 16 last the University of Lehigh was At the meeting of the Society of Antiquaries on bereaved of its president, Dr. Thomas Messinger Drown, January 19 Mr. A. J. Evans communicated an account of and a brief obituary notice is contained in the Popular the tombs of Minoan Knossos. Mr. Evans's last season's Science Monthly for January.
Dr. Drown was born on
work at Knossos was devoted largely to the search for the March 19, 1842, at Philadelphia, and he graduated in
tombs in relation with the Minoan palace and city. On a medicine at Pennsylvania, subsequently studying chemistry hill about a mile north of the palace a cemetery was disin Germany and America. He held the chair of chemistry
covered. One hundred tombs were opened, and the conat Lafayette College for seven years, and at the Massa
tents showed that the bulk of them belonged to the period chusetts Institute of Technology for seven years.
cceeding the fall of the palace. The secretary and editor of the American Institution of Mining character of the art displayed by the relics found showed Engineers for ten years from its foundation, and was the unbroken tradition of the later palace style. The elected president in 1897. His researches in quantitative jewelry and gems discovered were of the typical mature analysis were devoted in the first place to devising standard
Mycenæan class, and a scarab found in one of the graves methods in the analyses of iron and steel, and in the second
is of a late eighteenth dynasty type. The tombs were of place to water analysis, especially in connection with the
three main classes :-(a) Chamber tombs cut in the soft natural waters of the State of Massachusetts, and the dis
rock and approached in each case by a dromos ; in many tribution of normal chlorine. He was elected president of
cases these contained clay coffins, in which the dead had L'high l'niversity in 1895, at a time when that institu
been deposited in cists, their knees drawn towards the tion's influence was at a low ebb, and since his appoint- chin. (b) Shaft graves, each with a lesser cavity below, ment the efficiency of the college has developed in many containing the extended skeleton, and with a roofing of important directions.
stone slabs. (c) Pits giving access to a walled cavity in REUTER'S Agency has been informed by the Pacific the side below; these also contained extended skeletons. Cable Board that by an arrangement between the Washing- A number of skulls have been secured, and are to be sent ton and Sydney Observatories, with the cooperation of the to England. On a high level called Sopata, about two Telegraph administrations concerned, time signals were miles north again of this cemetery, an important sepulchral sent on New Year's Eve from the Washington Observ
was discovered. This consisted of a square atory to the Sydney Observatory at 3h., 4h., 3h., and 6h. chamber, about eight by six metres, constructed of limeThe mean interval between the times when these signals stone blocks, and with the side walls arching in and when they were
2.90s. “ Cyclopean " fashion towards a high gable. The back The
distance separating Sydney and Washington wall was provided with a central cell opposite the blocked in more than 12,000 miles. The signals through the
This entrance, arched on the same horizontal Vancouver-Fanning cable, the longest cable span in the principle, communicated with a lofty entrance hall of world (3457 76 nautical miles), were sent by automatic similar construction, in the side walls of which, facing apparatus, and were recorded, as they passed, at the each other, were two cells that had been used for sepulchral Vancouver station on an instrument placed in the artificial purposes. A second blocked archway led from this hall line which balances the cable for the purpose of duplex to the imposing rock-cut dromos. A number of relics working. The signals consisted of second contacts, were found scattered about, including repeated clay imomitting the thirtieth and last five of each minute, except pressions of what may have been a royal seal. Specially the last minute of the hour, when the thirtieth and all remarkable among the stone vessels is a porphyry bowl of after the fiftieth second were omitted, the circuit closing Minoan workmanship, but recalling in material and execuwith a long dash on the even hour. The signals were tion that of the early Egyptian dynasties. Many imported sent for five minutes before the hour from 3 p.m. to Egyptian alabastra were also found, showing the survival p.m., Sydney time; equivalent to midnight to 3 a.m. of middle empire forms besides others of early eighteenth Washington time.
dynasty type. Beads of lapis lazuli were also found, and