Abhandlungen der k. böhm. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 5th series, vol. 2 (1842). Prague: Borrosch & Andrä, 1842." /> DOPPLER, Johann Christian (1803-1853). "Ueber das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne und einiger anderer Gestirne des Himmels". Offprint from: <I>Abhandlungen der k. böhm. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, </I> 5th series, vol. 2 (1842). Prague: Borrosch & Andrä, 1842. | Christie's
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    Sale 2013

    Important Scientific Books: The Richard Green Library

    17 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 91

    DOPPLER, Johann Christian (1803-1853). "Ueber das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne und einiger anderer Gestirne des Himmels". Offprint from: Abhandlungen der k. böhm. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 5th series, vol. 2 (1842). Prague: Borrosch & Andrä, 1842.

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    DOPPLER, Johann Christian (1803-1853). "Ueber das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne und einiger anderer Gestirne des Himmels". Offprint from: Abhandlungen der k. böhm. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 5th series, vol. 2 (1842). Prague: Borrosch & Andrä, 1842.

    4o (259 x 215 mm). 18 pp. Lithographed plate of diagrams. Original wrappers (rebacked); cloth folding case. Provenance: Dr. Kveck(?) (owner's contemporary signature and on front wrapper and title).

    FIRST EDITION, offprint issue, containing the first statement of the Doppler principle, a fundamental tool of modern astronomy. The principle "relates the observed frequency of a wave to the motion of the source or the observer relative to the medium in which the wave is propagated" (DSB). In his paper, read to the Prague Gesellschaft für Wissenschaft on 25 May 1842, Doppler noted the application of the principle to both acoustics and optics, specifically to the colored appearance of double stars and to the fluctuation of novae. Although Doppler, "the earliest important physicist in Austria in the nineteenth century" (ibid.), made some incorrect assumptions about the nature of stellar light, due largely to the isolation in which he worked, his theory was soon borne out through experimentation. In 1845 the acoustical effect was demonstrated by the Dutch meteorologist Christophe Buys Ballot, who used a locomotive drawing an open car containing several trumpeters. The effect was also described separately by John Scott Russell and Hippolyte Fizeau in 1848, probably without knowledge of Doppler's work. Fizeau, noting the effect's application to optics, mentioned its potential usefulness for astronomical observation. This was borne out 20 years later, when the British astrophysicist William Huggins was able to calculate the velocity of the star Sirius's movement away from the earth by measuring the shift in its spectra. "Since then the technique has provided the science of astrophysics with one of its most important tools for measuring the size and the structure of the universe" (ibid.) Norman 651; Sparrow Milestones of Science 57.


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