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    Sale 2059

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    5 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 110

    [HARTREE, Douglas Rayner (1897-1958)]. A very extensive collection of offprints from some of the most prominent physicists of the 20th century, including many important papers on the history of modern physics from the years 1918-1932, collected and bound in 30 volumes by Douglas Rayner Hartree, V.p., v.d.

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    [HARTREE, Douglas Rayner (1897-1958)]. A very extensive collection of offprints from some of the most prominent physicists of the 20th century, including many important papers on the history of modern physics from the years 1918-1932, collected and bound in 30 volumes by Douglas Rayner Hartree, V.p., v.d.

    Together over 600 offprints in 30 volumes (numbered 1, 3-31), various 4o and 8o sizes. Blue cloth, spines gilt-lettered, many original wrappers bound in. Provenance: Douglas Rayner Hartree (signatures, annotations, inserted notes, etc.); Dr. Samuel Koslov (his sale Christie's East, 12 November 1996, lot 256); Harvey Plotnick (his sale, Christie's New York, 4 October 2002, lot 124).

    THE HARTREE COLLECTION OF OFFPRINTS: A THEORETICAL LABORATORY IN PRINT

    Douglas Rayner Hartree's bound collection of offprints follows the years 1918-32, during which time Hartree was an undergraduate at St. John's College, Cambridge (1915-21, including a gap when he served in the war) and a Fellow at St. John's College (1924-27) and Christ's College (1927-29). His postgraduate work was conducted under R.H. Fowler, who with C.G. Darwin in 1922 published a series of important papers on statistical mechanics, developing methods for calculating the "partition functions" associated with the distribution of energy in quantum systems. In the early 1920s, Fowler was among the very few at Cambridge who maintained a continuing interest in the progress of quantum theory.

    After Hartree's studies, he was appointed Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Manchester, holding this chair from 1929 until he moved to the chair of theoretical physics in 1937. After undertaking work with the Ministry of Supply during World War II, he was appointed Plummer Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge. He held this post until his death.

    Hartree's interests were primarily theoretical in nature, and he developed powerful methods in numerical mathematical analysis. His initial interest in numerical methods arose from his work on anti-aircraft gunnery in 1916-18. It was Niels Bohr's lecture course at Cambridge in 1921 that brought Hartree's research into focus, and he began his work on applications of numerical methods for integrating differential equations to calculate atomic wave functions. The collection begins with Bohr's important Copenhagen paper and includes many significant papers reflecting Hartree's specialization in numerical mathematical analysis of complex systems.

    Among the scientists included are Edward Arnold Milne, whose 39 offprints here reflect his stature as "one of the foremost pioneers of theoretical astrophysics and modern cosmology" (DSB); Niels Bohr (9); Max Born (4); William L. Bragg (20); C.G. Darwin (15); Paul Dirac (11); George Gamow (3); R.C. Gibbs (17); R.J. Havinghurst (9); Werner Heisenberg (6); J.C. McLennan (64); Ernest Rutherford (3); Erwin Schrvdinger (1); Arnold Sommerfeld (3); Edmund Stoner (11); Harold Urey (1); as well as papers by Blackett, Kapitza, Kramers, Lennard-Jones, Mott, Narayan, Nuttall, Rayner, Slater, Stober, G.P. Thomson, Van Vleck, Wentzel. Hartree has included 14 of his own papers and 18 by his mentor Fowler.

    A complete list is available on request. (30)


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    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A CALIFORNIA COLLECTION