Science Birthdays, March 6

Today is the birthday of Joseph von Fraunhofer, born in 1787, orphaned at age 11 and was apprenticed in a glass shop, and buried in rubble when his workshop collapsed, he was rescued by Prince Maximilian Joseph who provided him with books and forced his employer to allow him time to study, he went on to discover how to make the world’s finest optical glass and achromatic telescope lenses, he invented the spectroscope in 1814 and produced a diffraction grating in 1821, he is known for his discovery of dark absorption lines called Fraunhofer lines, he died at the age of 39, probably due to heavy metal vapors produced in glass making, many of his recipes for glass were lost when he died.

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