A common misconception about optical engineering and optical design underestimates their complexity because they only deal with “a few pieces of glass.” A few pieces of glass may look simple, but they can also be difficult. For example, by using proper machine tools, such as a lathe, one can make a nice metal part. The machine tools are complex and feature thick operational manuals, but they provide a means to get things done. The same results could not be achieved with only simple tools, such as hammers and pliers. Even though the latter are simple and don’t require a manual before operating them, they do not provide an effective means to get things done.
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