BECQUEREL, Henri. Cours de Physique. 2eme Division 1906-1907. --1aere Division 1907-1908. [Paris]: École de Polytechnique, 1906-08.
2 volumes, 4o. Illustrations in text. (Some light browning.) Contemporary half morocco, marbled boards, "E.B." stamped in gilt at foot of spines (lightly rubbed, joints a bit weak, vol. II with small split along upper joint). Provenance: Emile Amagat (1841-1915), French physicist (pencil signatures on pp. 281, 305 and 345 in the first volume).
Presumed first (and only) edition of Becquerel's exceedingly scarce course of lectures of physics delivered at the École Polytechnique in the academic years 1906-1907 and 1907-1908. The two volumes are lithographically (perhaps anastatically) produced from manuscript transcriptions of Becquerel's lectures, complete with diagrams, charts, illustrations and formulae. Becquerel succeeded to the Polytechnique's chair in physics in 1895, the year before he began his researches that lead to his discovery of radioactivty; he remained there until his death. The 1906-1907 volume covers elasticity, specific heats of gases, thermodynamics, acoustics, optics, phosphorescence, light polarization, etc. The 1907-1908 volume is primarily devoted to electricity and magnetism, with a section at the end on the electro-magnetic theory of light.
The lectures were most likely privately printed in very small editions for the use of Becquerel's students and colleagues, and are very rare. NUC does not cite any copies at all and the OCLC and RLIN databases list only two copies of Becquerel's similarly printed Cours de physique for the years 1896-98, and one for the years 1898-1902. The copies in the Plotnick library belonged to Becquerel's colleague at the Polythechnique, Emile Amagat, a specialist in fluid dynamics. Amagat is perhaps best known for his invention of a gas manometer with free-moving pistons in viscous liquids. (2)