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ASTRONOMIA | GEOMETRICA: | UBI || Methodus proponitur qua Prima- | riorum Planetarum Aſtronomia | ſive { Elliptica | Circularis } poſſit Geome- | tricè abſolvi. | [Rule] | OPUS, | Aſtronomis hactenus deſideratum. | [Rule] | AUTHORE || SETHO VVARDO S.T.D. | In Celeberrima Academia Oxonienſi | Aſtronomiæ profeſſore Saviliano. || [Rule] || LONDINI | Typis Jacobi Flesher, M DC LVI.
London: Jacob Flesher, 1656 Only edition of this important illustrated astronomical text by English mathematician, autodidact, and astronomer Seth Ward on Kepler's Second Law of Planetary Motion, one of three fundamental laws of astronomy and physics which 1) describes elliptical orbits with the Sun at one of two foci, 2) dictates equal areas and equal time intervals swept out by a rotating line segment, and 3) states that the square of the orbital period of a body is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit. The Astronomia Geometrica was essentially Ward's second, and more complete, response to Ismail Boulliau's Astronomia Philolaica (Paris: 1645), in which Boulliau attempted to remove some of the notorious difficulties that Kepler's Second Law had presented to astronomers in the thirty-six years since its introduction to science. But Boulliau, in his work, succeeded in making matters only worse. He imagined cones of sorts, and pictured planets moving about axes central to these cones. Ward, in Astronomia Geometrica, remarked that this was like imagining a body moving in an "elliptical orbit with uniform angular velocity about the empty focus of the ellipse (the Sun being at the other focus)". (ODNB) Ward, in his work, was able to greatly simplify Boulliau's complexities. Ward's work was highly influential, especially among the next generation of English and Continental astronomers, who would have had to have struggled with trial and error and tedious approximation using Kepler's original formulae. An attractive volume, well printed with scores of typographic diagrams and one small folding plate. Octavo, 184 x 123 x 24 mm (binding), 180 x 121 x 20 mm (text block). [†]8, (††)8, B-N8, O4, P1. [32], 74, 68, 57 pp. LACKS P1, the errata leaf, as in most copies. Bound in contemporary sprinkled calf. Caps chipped, head joints starting, corners bumped. Interior: Title with small chip out of fore margin, damp-staining to tail margin of first gathering and last two gatherings. Housed in a cloth clamshell box made by Cloverleaf Studios. Provenance: Red ink stamp of Antonianum Coll Univ Bibl. 1 E 12 to title; same call number on label pasted to tail of spine; blue ink stamp 14286 to initial blank, title, and rectos of following two leaves. Literature: Henry, John. "Seth Ward, 1617-1689" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2016. Pope, Walter. The Life of the Right Reverend Father in God Seth, Lord Bishop of Salisbury, and Chancellor of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. London: William Keblewhite, 1697. Debus, A. G. Science and Education in the Seventeenth Century: the Webster-Ward Debate. New York: MacDonald & Co, 1970. ESTC R38933; De la Lande p. 242; Houzeau-Lancaster 11840; Poggendorf, cols. 1260-1261.
      [Bookseller: W. S. Cotter Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2018-02-19           Check availability:      Biblio    

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