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The Ernst-Abbe-Fonds is a foundation dedicated to research in the fields of fine mechanics, optics, electronics, glass and ceramic glass.

It was funded in 1989 by the Carl Zeiss Foundation in honor of its 100th anniversary and named after the physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe, a close friend and business partner of Carl Zeiss.

The Ernst Abbe Fonds presents the Otto Schott Research Award and the Carl Zeiss Award for young researchers.

The Otto Schott Research Award carries a cash prize of 25,000 Euro. It is presented for outstanding achievements in the field of glass and glass ceramic in basic research and application.

The Carl Zeiss Award for Young Researchers carries a prize sum of 21,000 Euro which is split into three equal parts of 7,000 Euro. The prize honors promising young researchers which have recently achieved original, innovative and scientifically sound results in the field of optics and photonics.

Until 2013 the foundation presented the Carl Zeiss Research Award. This responsibility has been assumed by the CARL ZEISS AG instead.

The list of winners includes the names of four future Nobel Prize winners:

  • Egyptian-born American Ahmed A. Zewail received the Carl Zeiss Research Award in 1992 and the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1999.
  • American Eric A. Cornell won the Nobel Prize for Physics five years after garnering the Carl Zeiss Research Award in 2001.
  • Stefan Hell received the Carl Zeiss Research Award in 2002 – and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry two years later.
  • Also in 2014 Shuji Nakamura who won the Carl Zeiss Research Award in 2002 received the Nobel Prize for Physics.

Ernst Abbe

Abbe FormelBorn in Eisenach on January 23, 1840, Ernst Abbe was a physicist, inventor, entrepreneur and social reformer.

With his theory of image formation in the microscope, he is seen as one of the founders of scientific optics.

He joined the company Carl Zeiss as a scientific employee in 1866. In 1876, Carl Zeiss made Ernst Abbe a partner and designated him as his successor in the company.

Together with Otto Schott, Carl Zeiss and Roderich Zeiss, Abbe founded the Otto Schott & Genossen Glass Works in Jena in 1884, which later evolved into the current Schott Group.

To ensure the continuation of the company regardless of the personal interests of the owners, Ernst Abbe created the Carl Zeiss Foundation in 1889, which he made the sole owner of the Zeiss works and partial owner of the Schott works in 1891. In the Foundation statues of 1896, he specified that company profits be used to promote science and employees in the company. Far ahead of his times, he codified the constitution of the company here in a legally binding form.

Ernst Abbe died on January 14, 1905.

More information on the company is available on the Internet pages of Schott and Carl Zeiss.

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The award winner 2013, Professor Anne L'Huillier.
(f.l.t.r.) Professor Jürgen Mlyunek, Professor Ernst Otto Göbel, Professor Anne L'Huillier, Dr. Michael Kaschke, Dr. Markus Weber