17 June 2008
D'ALEMBERT, Jean le Rond (1717-1783). Traité de Dynamique, dans lequel les Lois de L'Equilibre & du Mouvement des Corps sont Réduites au plus petit Nombre Possible. Paris: David L'Aîné, 1743.
4o (231 x 175 mm). Engraved title-vignette, head and tail pieces, 5-line initial, and 4 engraved folding plates at end. (Some spotting and minor marginal soiling particularly to early leaves, one or two marginal worm holes.) Contemporary marbled paper boards, uncut (scuffed at the extremities, some early repairs); quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: early owner's inscription to unknown recipient dated 2 April 1786.
FIRST EDITION OF D'ALEMBERT'S IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE FORMALIZING OF NEWTON'S NEW SCIENCE OF MECHANICS. The Traité de Dynamique, one of d'Alembert's most famous scientific works, demonstrates that he clearly recognized that a scientific revolution had occured and he set out to formalize the new science of mechanics -- an accomplishment often mis-attributed to Newton. The first part of the treatise comprises d'Alembert's own three laws of motion: inertia, the parallelogram of motion, and equilibrium. The second part contains the first statement of what has come to be known as "d'Alembert's Principle," which states that the internal forces of inertia must be equal and opposite to the forces that produce the acceleration -- a theory which is applied to many mechanical and technical problems, in particular to the theory of the motion of fluids. "The Treatise on Dynamics was d'Alembert's first major book and it is a landmark in the history of mechanics. It reduces the laws of the motion of bodies to a law of equilibrium" (PMM 195). Norman 31; Poggendorff I, 28; Wellcome II, p. 28.
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