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Ernst Abbe Fund

The Carl Zeiss Foundation with its two foundation companies Schott Glaswerke and Carl Zeiss established the Ernst Abbe Fund named after its benefactor in 1989. The proceeds from the wealth of the foundation flow into two separate research awards that each have a value of EUR 25,000 and have been awarded on an alternating basis each year since 1990 as the “Carl Zeiss Research Award” and the “Otto Schott Research Award” to motivate and promote mainly young scientists.

Both research awards are governed by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and presented on an international basis. For this reason, the list of distinguished award winners includes the names of researchers from the U.S.A., Russia, Japan, China and other European countries, as well as physicists and chemists from Germany.


Ernst Abbe

Ernst 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.


17th Otto Schott Research Award

In 2022 the Otto Schott Research Award went to two European researchers: Professor Alicia Durán from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain, and Professor Daniel Neuville from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris at the University of Paris.

The Ernst Abbe Fund's Board of Trustees recognized both Duran and Neuville as "internationally renowned glass scientists, leaders amongst global industry and academic entities, who have given significantly to the glass community." The prize is valued at 25,000 euros and is dedicated to outstanding scientific and technological achievements in glass, glass-ceramic, and related advanced materials.

The award was presented for the 17th time on July 4, 2022, as part of the 26th International Congress of Glass in Berlin, Germany.

Award winners 2022

Award ceremony with Alicia Duran (second right) and Daniel Neuville (third left)
Photo: SCHOTT/Matthias Michael

Further information