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Programme ou idée générale d'un cours de physique expérimentale, avec un catalogue raisonné des Instrumens qui servent aux expériences
Paris, Le Mercier 1738 - Paris, Le Mercier, 1738 12vo, XXXIX, (1), 190 and (8) pages ; contemporary calf (corners, borders, spine and joints with damages and lack of leathers but binding and joints always very solid). Abbé Nollet's rare catalogue of his physical, optical and astronomical instruments - 1738 The rare unique edition of the first book never published by Abbé Nollet which gives the list of the [345] instruments built by himself for his personnal uses and for his famous public lessons. The "programme" is divised in two parts : 1. The first one gives the first printed form of the summary ideas of the famous Nollet's Leçons de physique. "On returning from Holland in 1735, Nollet decided to take up the calling of Polinière, who had died the preceding year, and to follow the methods, if not the theories, of the expositors of Newton. But he found the requisite apparatus so expensive that he could finance it only by building and selling duplicates. “I wielded the file and scissors myself [he wrote of that time]; I trained and hired workmen; I aroused the curiosity of some gentlemen, who placed my products in their studies; I levied a kind of voluntary tribute; in a word (I will not hide it) I have often made two or three instruments of the same kind in order to keep one for myself.” By 1738 Nollet could handle an order from Voltaire for instruments costing over 10,000 livres, equivalent to about as many dollars today. Nollet’s cours de physique was perhaps the most popular exhibition of its kind ever given. With carefully orchestrated demonstrations performed on some 350 different instruments, the abbé entertained his enthusiastic auditors as, in the spirit of the Enlightenment, he undertook to dispel their “vulgar errors, extravagant fears and faith in the marvelous.” These were not mere shows, as one sees from their expanded syllabus, the famous Leçons de physique, which appeared in six volumes between 1743 and 1748 and was often reprinted. The presentations are lively, comprehensive, and up-to-date, with full directions for realizing the effects under study and excellent illustrations of apparatus. Nollet strove ceaselessly to perfect his technique; and his last work, L’art des expériences (1770), offers the “amateur of physics” the distillation of forty years of attention to the “choice, construction, and use of instruments.” (DSB) 2. The second one (pages 113 to 190) is the complete list of all instruments built by Nollet himself for his physical, optical and astronomical demonstrations. It's the only one book in which Nollet gives this kind of short list of his own Cabinet. He divises the list of instruments in 8 categories. The astronomical part is higly interesting with the long descriptions of orrery, planetarium, armillary, celestial and terrestrial globes. The optical part is also very interesting with a very early mention of probably Cuff/Passemant-type micrometric screw on the stand, and camera obscura and magic lanterns. Furthermore, in the introduction of this second part, Nollet explains how he built his own instruments and for why he uses some colored varnish for the wood and varnish for the brass parts, etc. An unique document for the historical understanding of the developement of cabinets of physics during the Enlightenment and the development of experimental physics in electricity, general physics, optics and astronomy. Despite some accidents at the binding, some fowings at the first pages and a waterstains in the interior margin of the first half-part of the volume, a good copy of this really rare book. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Le Zograscope]
Last Found On: 2016-06-15           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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