By Stuart Singer, CEO, Schneider Optics, Inc.
Engineers are a special breed known for their love of precision and efficiency. So why is it then that a growing number of the emails and phone calls I receive inquiring about lenses for their imaging systems go something like this?:
Hi Stuart: Can you please provide a quote for a lens for an immersion microscope?
Can I WHAT?! Do you think I am CLAIRVOYANT?
I’m not being dramatic. I really got this request, and I’m getting them more and more often. Requests for lenses for imaging systems without any forethought given to the lens specifications, performance requirements, and system and design context that any intelligent person would need to know to fulfill the request.
This is a problem that has begun to snowball, and I want to stop it. Consider this article a large, snowball-stopping brick wall – one built from the heart, more than 40 years in optical lens design and fabrication, and a serious concern for the next generation of optical engineers.
So how did it come to this? Why is it that fewer and fewer engineers are doing their homework before they place their lens order?
Perhaps it’s a product of Amazon and McDonald’s culture – lightning fast fulfillment of orders that seems to happen by magic. Maybe, but in those cases the people doing the ordering know what they want. When instead you are asking me to figure out what you want, something else is at work.
I have three theories, and I’d welcome your thoughts on them.