17 June 2008
RUTHERFORD, Ernest (1871-1937). Radio-activity. Cambridge: University Press, 1904.
8o (216 x 142 mm). Half-title. Half-tone plate, text line illustrations. Original green diced cloth, gilt-lettered front cover and spine (slight rubbing to extremities and joints, some spotting to endpapers). Provenance: T.H. Rogers (signature on front pastedown).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST TEXTBOOK ON RADIOACTIVITY. Thorium emanations had been discovered in 1900, and Rutherford worked towards further developing concepts of atomic structure. "He discovered and named alpha and beta rays emitted from radio-active salts and predicted that disintegration of some radioactive elements would generate helium. He also produced in the laboratory the first artificial transmutation of one element into another" (Dibner). This work was "recognised as a classic at its publication in 1904" (DSB), and a second edition, half as big again, had to be published the following year, so quickly did Rutherford's achievements develop. Dibner Heralds of Science 51; Grolier/Horblit 51; Norman 1871.
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