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Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light. Also Two Treatises of the Species and Magnitude of Curvilinear Figures
Nineteen folding engraved plates. Title printed in red & black. 2 p.l., 144, 137 pp., 1 leaf numbered "138" on recto, 139-211, [1] pp. Large 4to, cont. English panelled calf (very beautifully rebacked & recornered by Aquarius, minor dustiness), green morocco lettering piece on spine. London: S. Smith & B. Walford, 1704. First edition, and a fine, fresh copy, of one of the great classics in optics. "All previous philosophers and mathematicians had been sure that white light is pure and simple, regarding colours as modifications or qualifications of the white. Newton showed experimentally that the opposite is true: there are pure coloured rays which cannot be analysed by refraction, such as the green of the spectrum; just as there are coloured rays which can be analysed, such as the green formed by mixing blue and yellow light. Natural white light, far from being simple, is a compound of many pure elementary colours which can be separated and recompounded at will."-Printing & the Mind of Man 172. This book is distinguished in two other ways. First, it contains Newton's earliest mathematical papers in print, published here for the first time to assert his priority over Leibniz in the invention of the calculus. Second, it contains his set of sixteen "Queries" on the nature of matter which, in the 18th century, was considered to be the most important feature of the Opticks and had a profound influence on scientific thought. Very good and crisp copy. With the modern bookplate of Jean Michel Cantacuzène, a member of the princely family of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Russia. They descended from a branch of the Greek Kantakouzenos family, who, in turn, descended from the Byzantine Emperor John VI Cantacuzenus. Small stamp on verso of title of Sir Robert Harry Inglis, 2nd Baronet, F.R.S. (1786-1855), an English Conservative politician, noted for his staunch high church views. Preserved in a box. ? Babson 132. Dibner, Heralds of Science, 148. Horblit 79b. Sparrow, Milestones of Science, 150.
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2016-11-25           Check availability:      Biblio    


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