My personal optical design experience has spanned more than five decades. They have been exciting, fascinating, and delightful decades; I have enjoyed each one. During that half century, lens design has changed radically. In the mid-twentieth century, lens design was still a semi-intuitive art, practiced by a few dedicated individuals of great perseverance, knowledge, and skill. And by mid-century most of the classic lens design forms had already been created. To this day, these designs are still the basis of many excellent modern optical systems.

Of course the practice of lens design today is radically different from what it was in the 1940s and 50s. Then, most optical design was done with an electromechanical desk calculator (e.g., ...

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