Schmidt, Bernhard Voldemar
BornIsland of Naissaar near Tallinn, (Estonia), 30 March 1879
DiedHamburg, Germany, 1 December 1935
German optician Bernhard Schmidt gave his name to a telescope type that permitted obtaining sharp images over a very wide field quickly. It involves a spherical primary mirror and a transparent corrector plate that largely removes the focus errors called coma and spherical aberration.
Schmidt was the first of five children of Karl Konstantin Schmidt and his wife, Maria Helene. His father was a writer, farmer, and fisherman on the island of Naissaar, in the Baltic Sea. Swedish was the language spoken on the island and in school, but at home the family spoke German. At the age of 15, Bernhard experimented with gunpowder and lost his right hand and forearm in an accident. This did not prove too much of a handicap, for later that year he built his own camera, photographed local people, and sold the pictures.
In 1895, Schmidt left Naissaar for Tallinn where he found work as a telegraph...
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