Mémoire sur l'action mutuelle d'un conducteur voltaïque et d'un aimant. Bound with 18 other works. From Michael Faraday's library
Mémoire sur l'action mutuelle d'un conducteur voltaïque et d'un aimant. Bound with 18 other works. From Michael Faraday's library

Mémoire sur l'action mutuelle d'un conducteur voltaïque et d'un aimant. Bound with 18 other works. From Michael Faraday's library

Publisher Information: 1827.

Faraday, Michael (1791-1867). Bound volume of 19 offprints/pamphlets on electricity and physics from Faraday’s library, including four with Presentation Inscriptions from their Authors to Faraday, namely:

(1) Ampère, André-Marie (1775-1836). Mémoire sur l’action mutuelle d’un conducteur voltaïque et d’un aimant. Offprint from Nouveaux Mémoires de l’Académie royale des sciences et belles-lettres de Bruxelles 4 (1827). [2], 3-88pp. 3 folding engraved plates. Brussels: M. Hayez, Imprimeur de l’Académie Royale, [1827] (colophon). Inscribed by Ampére on the title: “à Monsieur Faraday de la Société Royale de Londres de la part de l’auteur.”

(2) [Quetelet, Adolphe (1796-1874).] Rapport à monsieur le minister de l’intérieur, sur les travaux de l’Académie Royale des Sciences et des Belles-Lettres de Bruxelles, depuis le mois de Juillet 1830. Offprint from Nouveaux Mémoires de l’Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Bruxelles 7 (1832). 12pp. Inscribed by Quetelet on the first leaf: “A Monsieur Faraday offert par l’auteur.”

(3) Plateau, Joseph Antoine Ferdinand (1801-83). Dissertation sur quelques propriétés des impressions produits par la lumière sur l’organe de la vue. 32pp. Folding plate. Liège: Dessain, 1829. Inscribed by Plateau on the title: “A Monsieur Faraday mem[bre] de la Société royale de Londres &c &c. De la part de l’auteur.”

(4) Wenckebach, Willem (1803-47). Disputatio mathematica inauguralis de pontium lapideorum forma et mensuris ex aequilibrii doctrina determinandis. [vii], 116, [2]pp. 2 folding plates. Amsterdam: Sulpke, 1830. Inscribed by Wenckebach on the title: “Dr. Faraday with the Author’s resp[ects].”

Bound with 15 other pamphlets (list available on request). 265 x 205 mm. Disbound, original boards preserved, in a drop-back box. Minor foxing and toning, two of the inscriptions a bit trimmed, but very good.

An extraordinary volume of scientific offprints on physics, electricity and related subjects, including four with presentation inscriptions, owned and assembled by Michael Faraday, whose groundbreaking experimental researches on electrical and magnetic phenomena mark the foundation of modern electromagnetic technology and constitute “the starting point for the revolutionary theories of Clerk Maxwell and later of Einstein” (Printing and the Mind of Man). This is the only example we know of a book from Faraday’s library. The offprints in it testify to the breadth and depth of Faraday’s scientific interests and to his large network of connections within the 19th-century scientific community.

Most of the offprints in this volume date from the 1820s and early 1830s, an extremely fruitful period in Faraday’s scientific career. In 1821, shortly after Ørsted’s discovery of electromagnetism, Faraday invented two devices to produce what he called “electromagnetic rotation,” thus creating the first electric motor. He spent the next several years exploring the electromagnetic properties of materials, investigating the connections between optics and electromagnetism, perfecting several new types of glass for optical researches, and pursuing chemical investigations including the discovery of benzene. In 1831 Faraday published the first of his “Experimental researches in electricity” his single most important scientific paper, in which he reported his discovery of the means for generating electricity by electro-magnetic induction and his invention of the dynamo. From this revolutionary achievement “was to come the whole of the electric power industry and the benefits to everyone that have followed upon the ability to transport electricity to even the smallest village or farm” (Williams, Faraday, p. 195).

The most significant item in this volume is the inscribed offprint of Ampère’s “Mémoire sur l’action mutuelle d’un conducteur voltaïque et d’un aimant” (1827), in which Ampère showed that his own theory of electricity was able to account for the results obtained in Biot’s and Poisson’s rival theories. This memoir “brought to a close [Ampère’s] main sequence of research publications on electricity and magnetism” (Grattan-Guinness, p. 960); it immediately preceded his great summary work, Théorie mathématique des phénomènes électrodynamiques uniquement déduite de l’expérience (1827), which is regarded as the founding treatise of electrodynamics. Like Faraday, Ampère was one of the creators of electromagnetic science, and each was fully aware of the other’s work in this field. The two men began corresponding and exchanging papers in the early 1820s, when Ampère was in the midst of his brilliant series of experiments exploring the exact nature of the relationship between electric current-flow and magnetism. Later, after Ampère’s death, Faraday recalled Ampère’s kindness in writing to him “when [I was] a young man and fearful of venturing into science . . . [giving] me that confidence to which the little I have done if it is anything at all is entirely due” (letter to Dumas dated 29 April 1840, in The Select Correspondence of Michael Faraday, Vol. I, p. 372).

Of the inscribed works other than Ampère’s in the present volume, the most interesting is the dissertation of optical physicist Joseph Plateau, who was one of the first to demonstrate the illusion of a moving image; his work contributed to the development of cinema. Faraday, who began corresponding with Plateau in the early 1830s, was also interested in optics, and it is likely that he first learned of Plateau’s work from this inscribed copy of Plateau’s thesis. “The basis of much of [Plateau’s] work was his observation that an image takes an appreciable time to form on, and to disappear from, the retina. In his dissertation (1829) Plateau showed, among other things, that the total length of an impression, from the time it acquires all its force until it is scarcely sensible, is approximately a third of a second. He applied his results to the study of the principles of the color mixture produced by the rapid succession of colors. This led to the formulation of the law (now known as the Talbot-Plateau law) that the effect of a color briefly presented to the eye is proportional both to the intensity of the light and the time of presentation. Plateau also studied various optical illusions that result from the persistence of the image on the retina” (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). On 10 December 1830 Faraday presented a paper at the Royal Institution entitled “On a peculiar class of optical deceptions” about the optical illusions that could be found in rotating wheels. As Faraday publicly acknowledged, much of his paper was similar to what Plateau had published in his thesis.

The statistician and social scientist Adolphe Quetelet, another of Faraday’s scientific correspondents, is represented by two offprints in our volume, including the inscribed one listed above. Best known for his introduction of statistical methods into the social sciences, Quetelet was a polymath whose work on atmospheric electricity was much admired by Faraday. The two men corresponded and exchanged papers between the 1830s and the 1860s and appear to have enjoyed a warm professional relationship.

The last signed offprint is a thesis by Dutch mathematician Willem Wenckebach, lecturer at the Royal Military Academy in Breda and later professor of mathematics at Utrecht University. We have not been able to find any information about his connection with Faraday.

Among the other scientists represented in this volume are mathematician and engineer Jean Nicolas Pierre Hachette, one of the founders of France’s École Polytechnique; physicist Amadeo Avogadro, for whom Avogadro’s constant is named; physicist Auguste de la Rive, author of Treatise on Electricity in Theory and Practice (1854-58); natural historian and paleontologist Georges Cuvier; chemist Michel 45whose method of compiling mathematical tables greatly influenced Charles Babbage; and mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier, author of Théorie analytique de la chaleur (1822).

The original binding partially preserved for this volume is exceptionally plain and utilitarian. Whether Faraday might have bound it for himself is unknown, but it is a distinct possibility since he began his working life as a bookbinder before turning to science.

Book Id: 44490

Price: $47,500.00