Eberhard Zschimmer was a man of outstanding intellect whose university education ended with the study of mineralogy. His dissertation was concerned with measuring the refractive indices of birefringent minerals. It must have seemed a natural next step to join Otto Schott in the study of glasses, especially those for use in optical instruments.
Zschimmer joined Schott’s Company in 1889 and soon became senior scientific adviser then a member of the board. The Company made a wide range of glasses for advanced applications such as optical instruments and Zschimmer hoped that methods of accurately predicting properties from composition, or vice versa, could be developed, especially if the latest understanding of the glassy state was employed. His studies of these matters led to him writing this notable book which he completed in 1913 and dedicated to Otto Schott. Unfortunately Schott thought that it contained too much information that he did not wish to make public and he suppressed the book which remained unknown for almost a century.
Zschimmer had other interests: he studied philosophy and published books on that subject and he became a committed socialist. The latter brought him into conflict with Schott so that he left the company in 1921, but he then became the first German Professor of Glass Technology at Karlsruhe.
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