Earnst Abbe the lens dude, to Grace Abbot, champion of children everywhere

Thank Ernst Abbe for my glasses!

Ernst Abbe was a physicist who figured out stuff about lenses, and made advancement in the optical field.  He even had a formula named after him – the Abbe sine condition, “one of the requirements that a lens must be met if it is to form a sharp image, free of blurring or distortion caused by coma and spherical abberation.”

That is pretty impressive. It’s like the tagine from ‘The Big Bang Theory’. We take so many things for granted. Short sightedness and other sight related conditions are so easily correct Ed nowadays, with not a thought about how they came to be.

A friend’s 6 year old son has been prescribed glasses, and I found out that this trend very fashionable in class now.  When I was younger, being called ‘four eyes’ for wearing corrective lenses was common. And I thought my world had ended when I found out that I was going to be one of their ‘tribe’! Horror! How was I going to be found attractive? No boys will like me with my four eyes!

A series of entries about abbots and abbeys and places called Abbesville and such like were skimmed. I picked out interesting bits but they aren’t work writing about.

Now Berenice Abbot, a lady who was born just before the turn of the century in 1898 became well known for preserving Atget’s photographic work and then for documenting New York with photographs. She was an arty person, learning how to draw, do sculptures and such like. Later on, she used camera to try and capture scientific things like magnets and motion. I wonder whether she ever encountered any kooks who may have wanted her to take pictures of aura.

Abbot and Costello
This smells a bit fishy…

I sort of thought she might be the one who took the famous guys having lunch on the scaffolding picture, but it doesn’t look like it.

Abbot and Costello (where Abbot was the straight man to Costello’s buffoon) were famous in the entertainment industry in the early to mid 1900’s.  The pictures of the two are always in black and white, much like Charlie Chaplin.  Their personal lives (like a lot of celebrities) aren’t as shiny and happy as they appear on screen.  Abbot had epilepsy, and turned to drink to cope.  Costello was sick with rheumatic fever (which apparently almost killed him a few times), and lost his son in a tragic drowning accident in the family’s swimming pool.

Grace Abbot was a formidable woman who also lived around the same time. She was very passionate about child labour, helping to secure a law limiting child labour in the Keating-Owen act of 1916 which was then overturned by the Supreme Court. She did however managed to put in a child-labour clause on all war goods contract between the federal government and private industries. What a cunning move, especially after what must have been quite a crushing defeat. I think there’s a lesson in that, at least for me.

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