On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances, pp. 108-248 [With:] On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances (concluded), pp. 343-524, in: Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol. III.
New Haven: Published by the Academy, 1874.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 1¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003659
1874-78. 8vo (227 x 143 mm). Entire volume: xi , 529  pp., including 60 photo-lithographed plates and errata on final unnumbered page. Contemporary half sheepskin over marbled boards, spine blind-ruled and lettered in gilt, red-sprinkled edges (extremities rubbed, traces of white paint on spine). Text with light browning mostly to outer margins, otherwise crisp and clean throughout. Provenance: William North Rice* (1845-1928) (signature on front free endpaper and ink stamp on first page of contents dated 23 May 1938); Wesleyan College (library bookplate on front paste-down). Very good+ copy. ----
VERY RARE FIRST EDITION, in the complete journal volume, of Gibbs' epoch-making work which can be regarded "A foundation treatise on physical chemistry, the interpretation of chemical processes by application of thermodynamics and mathematics" (Horblit 40). Here, "Gibbs showed by the use of mathematical processes how thermodynamics may be used in the interpretation of chemical processes, and gave the first demonstration of the Phase Rule" (Evans 60). "This work of over three hundred pages was of immense importance. When scientists finally realized its scope and significance, they praised it as one of the greatest contributions of the century" (Crowe, p. 151). "Gibbs, the greatest American mathematical physicist, introduced in ['On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances'] the 'phase rule' to solve the intricate problem of the equilibrium of such mixtures as chemical solutions and metal alloys. Largely ignored both in America and abroad for more than ten years after this initial appearance, its impact upon modern industrial technology was enormous, leading directly to the modern manufacture of plastics, drugs, dyes and organic solvents. His mathematical equations relieved scientists of immeasurable numbers of experiments in order to ascertain the precise conditions for successful chemical processes" (Norman 899). His "early papers, as well as Gibbs's major memoir on thermodynamics that soon followed them, appeared in the Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, a new and relatively obscure journal whose non-local circulation consisted largely of exchanges with other learned societies, including some 140 outside the United States. Gibbs did not count on finding his potential readers among those who checked the contents of the Transactions" (DSB, p. 389). "Though Gibbs's work was published in one of the most obscure of American scientific periodicals, Gibbs attempted to gain wider circulation for his ideas by mailing a larger than usual number of offprints of the papers to scientists he believed would be interested [. . .] Gibbs mailed nearly 100 copies of [the offprint of] each of the two parts of his paper, mostly to individuals, and 10 each to institutions. Of these few appear to have survived" (historyofinformation online resources). The work is rare on the market in any form: ABPC/RBH list four copies in the last 25 years including only the Norman copy in the offprint form.
*William North Rice (1845-1928) was an American geologist, educator, and Methodist minister and theologian concerned with the reconciliation of science and religious faith. Rice served as professor of geology and natural history at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, beginning in 1868. He served as acting president of Wesleyan on three occasions - in 1907, from 1908 to 1909, and again in 1918.
References: Dibner 49; Evans 60; Horblit 40; Honeyman 1495; Norman 899 (offprint issues); DSB V, pp. 286-93; Crowe, A History of Vector Analysis, 1967. - Visit our website to see more images!
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