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Proceedings Paper

Evidence supporting the primacy of Joseph Petzval in the discovery of aberration coefficients and their application to lens design
Author(s): Andrew Rakich; Raymond Wilson
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Paper Abstract

In 1839 Louis Daguerre published his process for permanently fixing optical images, and created an instant need for a high-aperture, relatively wide-field and well-corrected lens. Within a year, an optical design meeting all of these requirements was provided by Professor Joseph Petzval, a mathematician with no previous background in optics. This optical design was revolutionary in that it was well corrected for aberration over a wide-field at the unprecedented speed of f/3.5. As Petzval never published explicit details of his method for designing lenses, the credit for the invention of an aberration theory applicable to lens design has gone in the first place to Seidel, and later to those who developed high-order coefficients such as Schwarzschild, T Smith and Buchdahl. It is the contention of this paper that this has been an historical injustice, and that sufficient evidence exists, and indeed has existed in part since well before Seidel published his derivation of third-order aberration coefficients, to establish Petzval as the original pioneer of third-and-higher-order aberration theory as a tool for lens design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 September 2007
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 6668, Novel Optical Systems Design and Optimization X, 66680B (25 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.732666
Show Author Affiliations
Andrew Rakich, LBT Observatory (United States)
Raymond Wilson, European Southern Observatory (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6668:
Novel Optical Systems Design and Optimization X
R. John Koshel; G. Groot Gregory, Editor(s)

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