If Only I Could Talk with Augustin Fresnel
If only I could pull up a chair and confer with the great Augustin Fresnel. Just once! Oh, the questions I would ask. His replies would no doubt astound my every query.
Light’s prism realm of magnified splendor may have been the result of Fresnel’s considerable acumen and genius, but I wonder if he ever pondered the enduring presence that his masterpiece would proceed to achieve in lighthouses the world over. For two centuries and counting now!
Science has long endeavored to produce light sources for lighthouses that could keep pace with progress and the insatiable desire for ever-greater efficiency. From an array of oils to incandescent oil vapor and electric lamps to light emitting diodes, optics have come and gone, but inexplicably, the Fresnel lens prevails against the march of time.
If I could, it would be this revelation that I yearn to share with Augustin Fresnel. Such a disclosure might very well have made this humble man blush with pride. For no heights of intellect nor depths of passion could have fancied the duration of this glowing legacy.
Fresnel most assuredly would not have dared to speculate on such an inward pursuit. Rather, his heart was motivated to go beyond himself – to places where light had never gone before. This noble quest was indeed attained, but oh so much more was too. Eras continue to pass, yet Fresnel’s gift remains. Both its utility upon the deep and the utter fascination it spawns amongst countless admirers. I would enjoy telling Fresnel – and seeing him smile!