Publisher Information: Paris: Firmin Didot, 1903.
Becquerel, Henri (1852-1908). Recherches sur une propriété nouvelle de la matière . . . In: Mémoires de l’Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France 46 (1903). Whole number, 4to. , 360, pp. 71 photographic figures on 13 plates. Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1903. 283 x 229 mm. Original printed wrappers, front wrapper faded, some chipping to spine and lower edges. Very good copy apart from some light toning.
First Edition, journal issue. Becquerel’s definitive memoir on his investigations into radioactivity. Becquerel had discovered this new property of matter in early 1896, while conducting a series of experiments on induced phosphorescence by X ray, sunlight, etc.; he found that uranium was able to “phosphoresce” and fog photographic plates without previous exposure to sunlight. Shortly afterwards, Becquerel “discarded phosphorescence completely and declared that the emanations [from uranium] constituted an entirely new and unsuspected property of matter, which . . . he named radioactivité” (Printing and the Mind of Man). After publishing several papers on the subject, Becquerel wrote the present memoir describing all of his researches and conclusions to that point, and containing an extensive bibliography of works on radioactivity. It was published the same year that he and the Curies received the Nobel Prize in physics for their researches into radioactive phenomena.
Becqerel’s memoir appeared in two forms: as Volume 46 of the Memoires de l’Academie des Sciences de l'Institut de France, with title-page reading “Memoires . . . Tome quarante-sixieme,” and as a separate publication with title reading “Recherches sur une propriete nouvelle de la matiere.” The journal article is further distinguished from the separate publication by the presence of “T. XLVI” in addition to the signature number on the first leaf of each signature. Dibner, Heralds of Science, 163. En francais dans le texte 332. Norman 158. Printing and the Mind of Man 393.Book Id: 46480