4 June 2008
TORRICELLI, Evangelista (1608-1647). Opera geometrica. Florence: Amadoro Massa and Lorenzo de Landis, 1644.
3 parts in one, 4° (218 x 149 mm). General half-title, part 1 title-page with imprint, section titles to parts 2-3, dedication to Grand Duke Ferdinand II de' Medici, part 3 separately signed and paginated and with separate dedication to Prince Leopold de' Medici, imprimatur leaf at end, numerous small woodcut diagrams, one full-page engraving, letterpress tables, woodcut head- and tailpieces and initials. (General title laid down, worming at foot of gutter affecting leaves K1-P3, not affecting text, worming in top margin affecting leaves V2-Cc2 just touching text and 4 leaves with old tape repairs to worm holes, occasional light spotting.) Old vellum (a remboitage, binding tight, boards warped). Provenance: Henry Cavendish (stamp to verso of part 1 title-page).
FIRST EDITION OF THE ONLY WORK PUBLISHED DURING TORRICELLI'S LIFETIME. In the second section of the present work, De moto gravium, Torricelli continued Galileo's study of the parabolic motion of projectiles. The treatise includes several significant contributions to mechanics, the calculus and ballistics. It also 'refers to the movement of water in a paragraph so important that Ernst Mach proclaimed Torricelli the founder of hydrodynamics' (DSB). This states 'Torricelli's theorem,' in which Torricelli determined that the efflux velocity of a jet of liquid spurting from a small hole at the bottom of a vessel is equal to that which a single drop of the liquid would have if it could fall freely in a vacuum from the level of the top of the liquid. It was presumably this that interested Henry Cavendish (1731-1810) who was precoccupied with the physics and chemistry of atmospheres: '[Cavendish's] place in British natural philosophy is as the first after Newton to possess mathematical and experimental talents at all comparable to Newton's. In intellectual stature Cavendish was without peer in eighteenth-century British natural philosophy' (DSB). Norman 2086.
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