The Father of Modern Glass Materials Science-Otto Schott

optical lens manufacture

As a common inorganic solid material, glass has been used for thousands of years. Today, glass has penetrated into all fields of people’s production and life, from thermometer to space telescope.

It can be said that today’s world is inseparable from glass.

Looking back at history, the use of glass was extremely limited for a long time. It was not until the middle and late 19th century that the types and uses of glass began to expand, and the glass industry immediately “quantum transition” became a new industrial field with great innovation and broad application prospects. This change was mainly due to a German scientist and entrepreneur at that time, Otto Schott, the father of modern glass materials science to be described in this paper.

Schott was born in Germany. His father was a traditional glass craftsman and co operated a glass workshop. Such a family environment obviously has an important impact on Schott’s future career.

In 1870, Schott went to Aachen University of technology to start his college career.

In 1873, Schott transferred to the University of vilzburg, but because Wagner did not have his own laboratory at the University of vilzburg, his research focused on theory rather than practice.

So Schott transferred to the University of Leipzig, where he joined the laboratory of agricultural chemist W. knop. Knoop trusted Schott so much that he even allowed him to work on glass in the laboratory.

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Schott’s way to success — persistence + Innovation + initiative

In addition to the influence of his family environment and the help and cooperation of Abbe and Zeiss, Xiao Xing believes that the more important factor for his success in his life lies in his own factors:

01 dedication to their own research field

Even without a formal position and no confidence in the future, he can still adhere to glass research at home, which is enough to show his love and pursuit of his field.

02 interdisciplinary innovative thinking

Before Schott, glass manufacturing was a purely technical field. Glass craftsmen and skilled workers never seemed to think of using scientific methods to develop new glass or improve glass performance. On the other hand, people who made glass in Europe in the 1870s did not understand science, and people who knew science did not pay attention to glass manufacturing. It is with his knowledge and ability that Schott connects two previously irrelevant fields and creates a new world.

03 actively looking for opportunities

Schott did some research and thought that according to the work field and position of physicist Abbe at that time, especially his relationship with Zeiss, he should be interested in the new glass, so he took the initiative to send samples to Abbe. Later, as expected, it was reused by Abbe and Zeiss, which created a good story in the history of science and enterprise.

No matter what direction human society will develop in the future, Otto Schott’s contribution to modern glass materials will go down in history as a milestone in the development of science and technology.


Hanzhong Brisun Optics Co., Ltd. Is the high precision optical element manufacturer provides customized production of Various optical lenses, including spherical lens, cylindrical lens, optical window, mirror, prism, filter, metal base mirror and other high-precision optical elements. The base materials include various optical glass, fused quartz, calcium fluoride (CaF2), zinc selenide (ZnSe), germanium (GE), silicon (SI), sapphire, metal and other materials. And provide antireflective film, high reflection film, spectroscopic film, metal film and other optical coatings.

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