Heidelberg: Academische Verlagsbuchhandlung von C. F. Winter, 1842.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003540
In: Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie. Herausgegeben von Friedrich Wöhler und Justus Liebig, vol. 42, pp. 233-240. Heidelberg: Academische Verlagsbuchhandlung von C. F. Winter, 1842. 8vo (201 x 127 mm). Entire volume no. 42: , 356 pp., including two general title pages. Bound in later marbled paper cardboard, gilt-lettered morocco spine label, red sprinkled edges (minor rubbing of extremities). Text with minor even browning, scattered minor foxing. Provenance: collection of Peter and Margarethe Braune. In all a clean and crisp copy. ----
FIRST PRINTING OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PAPERS IN PHYSICS OF THE 19TH CENTURY. It is the first to propose an equivalence of all forms of energy, including heat, and a conservation of total energy. Although Mayer was the first to set forth the general law of the conversation of energy (the first thermodynamical law), it was James Joule who first put the law on firm footing. "Sadi Carnot, in 1824, approached very close to the principle of the conservation of energy and his brother found among his papers an almost explicit statement of it, although Carnot had actually used the caloric theory in his researches. J. R. Mayer, in Liebig's Annalen, 1842, demonstrated its application in physiological processes, but his paper made little impression until it was reprinted as a polemic in 1867. J. P. Joule made a manuscript translation of Mayer's thesis for his own use, and, in a series of papers in the Philosophical Magazine, 1840-3, provided experimental proof of the mechanical equivalent of heat for physical phenomena." (PMM). The personal misfortunes of [Mayer's] genius (including neglect, impugned insanity and attempted suicide) have dulled the brilliance of his contributions to the mechanics of energy convertibility. From the expenditure of animal energy he developed the broader concept that all the natural forces were in universal conservation and remained so, as a law of nature. He held that work could be converted to heat, and heat to work, that when air is compressed the work appears as heat, and from this he calculated a numerical value for its mechanical equivalent. All these hypotheses remained neglected by physicists until John Tyndall, in 1862, discovered their importance and translated several of Mayer's papers into English." (Dibner 157).
References: Dibner, Heralds of Science 157 (for 1851 reprint); PMM 323 (rem.); Honeyman 2191; DSB IX, pp. 235-240; Parkinson, Breakthroughs, 1842. - Visit our website to see more images!
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