The Carl Zeiss Foundation founded the Ernst Abbe Fund in 1989 in honor of its 100th anniversary.
Physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe named the Carl Zeiss Foundation after his friend and business partner who had recently passed away.
The Ernst Abbe Fund presents the Carl Zeiss Research Award and the Otto Schott Research Award in alternating years in recognition of outstanding work in international optical research.
The awards carry a cash prize of € 25,000.
The Carl Zeiss Research Award honors special scientific achievements in basic research and application in the field of optics.
The Otto Schott Research Award is presented for outstanding achievements in the field of glass and glass ceramic in basic research and application.
The list of winners includes the names of two 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.
Born 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.
The award winner 2013, Professor Anne L'Huillier.