14 November 2007
EULER, Leonhard (1707-1783). Dioptricae pars prima ... De explicatione principorum [Pars secunda ... De constructione telescopiorum dioptricorum. Pars tertia ... De constructione microscopiorum]. St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1769-1771.
3 volumes, 4° (245 x 200mm). Printer's stamp in red on title versos; with erratum in vol. 3. 6 engraved folding tables. (Paper flaw in one plate with old repair, occasional light spotting.) Contemporary mottled calf, spines gilt in compartments, marbled edges (covers rubbed, small chips to spines).
FIRST EDITION OF EULER'S RARE WORK ON OPTICS, 'widely known and important in the physics of the eighteenth century' and which 'laid the foundations of the calculation of optical systems' (DSB). Euler, one of the pre-eminent mathematicians of the 18th century, rejected Newton's corpuscular theory in favour of a wave theory of light. The first part of his Dioptricae considers the properties of lenses; the second and third parts discuss the construction of the telescope and the microscope. DSB, IV, p.482; Poggendorf I, 690. (3)
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