German physicist born on January 23, 1840 in Eisenach and died on January 14, 1905 in Jena, author of important advances in microscopy.
He began studies of Physics in 1863 at the University of Jena, and at the end of his studies was associated with the German optical Carl Zeiss in 1866 as director of research. In 1868 he invented the apocromaticas lenses, which eliminate chromatic aberration present in microscopes. By then developed a theory about the formation of the image in these devices that says that an object that glows with an external source produces difractados rays of light, so how many more difractados rays are intercepted by the objective, it is better the image can be seen. This theory led to the invention of the condenser, which allows a more intense illumination of the sample holder in 1870. Capacitor, installed in virtually all good microscopes until the invention of the electronic, allowed fundamental advances in microbiology from the end of century XIX. That same year he managed the plaza of Professor of physics and mathematics at the University of Jena.
In his work theoretical basis of the construction of microscopes (1873) is the well-known formula of Abbe, who expressed the limit of resolution of a microscope on the basis only of wavelength of light used in illuminating the object, known as Abbé formula, and that allowed the development, several years later, of the electron microscope.
In 1878 he was appointed director of the astronomical and meteorological observatory at the University of Jena. In 1884 it was associated with Otto Schott founded, in the same city, taller-laboratorio Jenaer Glaswerk Schott & Genossen dedicated to the research and construction of glass lenses with different optical properties, as well as prisms and optical systems for photography. In 1891, he resigned from his post of Professor, ceded their rights over the property of the workshops of the Carl Zeiss Institute and workshop and became a mere member of the Board of Directors. It is consecrated to organize the Carl Zeiss Foundation of scientific and social development, and to that end, managed to restructure the firm as a cooperative in collaboration with the University, in such a way that both workers and managers and the University as an institution shared its benefits. He established a pension system, built a casino for the workers of the firm and established in the statutes that you could not obtain any patent by the scientific devices that will be developed.