Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1873.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003768
Two volumes. 8vo (222 x 144 mm). xxix ,  2-425, ; xxiii ,  2-444, , 15  pp. Including 21 lithographic plates (1 bound after p.148 of vol. I, the rest at end of volumes), half-titles, errata slip to vol. I, numerous diagrams and illustrations in text, 15 pp. of publisher's advertisements at rear of vol. II. Original publisher's blind-stamped plum cloth, spines lettered in gilt, glazed endpapers (spine ends, joints and inner hinges repaired, boards soiled, board edges rubbed, corners bumped and worn, bindings a bit weak). Pages untrimmed. Text only little age-toned; occasional light finger-soiling to lower right corner of pages in vol. II, half-title and plates somewhat foxed (stronger in vol. II), light pencil annotations to half-title of vol. I; some plate with short annotations and markings added in pencil or ink. Provenance: S. van Elzen Jr., Boekhandel s Gravenhage (bookseller's ticket on front pastedown of vol. I). Still very good set in its original publisher's binding. ----
Horblit 72; Norman 1466; PMM 355 (note); DSB IX, p.198ff; Wheeler-Gift 1872. - FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, OF A MAJOR SCIENTIFIC WORK with 'just published' in the listing for this title on page 10 of the publisher's advertisements at the rear of volume two. Maxwell saw electricity not as just another branch of physics but "as an aid to the interpretation of nature" and saw the study of electromagnetism "as a means of promoting the progress of science" (Preface p.vii). He demonstrated the importance of electricity to physics as a whole, advancing "the significant hypothesis that light and electricity are the same in their ultimate nature" (Grolier/Horblit). This theory, one of the most important discoveries of nineteenth-century physics, was Maxwell's greatest achievement, and laid the groundwork for Einstein's theory of relativity. "Maxwell once remarked that the aim of his Treatise was not to expound the final view of his electromagnetic theory, which he had developed in a series of five major papers between 1855 and 1868; rather, it was to educate himself by presenting a view of the stage he had reached in his thinking. Accordingly, the work is loosely organized on historical and experimental, rather than systematically deductive, lines. It extended Maxwell's ideas beyond the scope of his earlier work in many directions, producing a highly fecund (if somewhat confusing) demonstration of the special importance of electricity to physics as a whole. He began the investigation of moving frames of reference, which in Einstein's hands were to revolutionize physics; gave proofs of the existence of electromagnetic waves that paved the way for Hertz's discovery of radio waves; worked out connections between the electrical and optical qualities of bodies that would lead to modern solid-state physics; and applied Tait's quaternion formulae to the field equations, out of which Heaviside and Gibbs would develop vector analysis." (Norman 1466). - Visit our website to see more images!
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