14 June 2006
LAPLACE, Pierre Simon, Marquis de (1749-1827). Traité de mécanique céleste. Paris: Crapelet for J.B.M. Duprat, 1799-1802 (Vols. 1-3); Paris: Courcier, 1805 (Vol. 4); Paris: Bachelier, 1825 [i.e. 1823-1827] (Vol. 5).
5 volumes, 4o (255 x 200 mm; 254 x 196 mm; 253 x 196 mm; 255 x 202 mm; 257 x 200 mm). Half-titles in vols. 1-4. Engraved folding plate in vol. 4. (Some occasional minor spotting and staining, possibly lacking \Kc1\k in vol. 3 (see references below), first part title in vol. 5 bound out of sequence, lacking half-title, part title "decembre 1824" and Supplement from vol. 5.) Volumes 1-4 bound in contemporary morocco-backed boards, volume 5 bound in contemporary calf-backed boards, spines gilt (corners bumped, some light wear at edges).
FIRST EDITION OF LAPLACE'S FUNDAMENTAL WORK IN CELESTIAL MECHANICS. Published over a period of 27 years, Laplace's monumental Traité de mécanique céleste codified and further developed the theories and achievements of Newton, Euler, d'Alembert, and Lagrange. In the tradition of Newton's Principia, Laplace " ... applied his analytical mathematical theories to celestial bodies and concluded that the apparent changes in the motion of planets and their satellites are changes of long periods, and that the solar system is in all probability very stable" (Dibner). The first four volumes of this work appeared from 1799 through 1805, and contain the laws of mechanics and their application to the motions and figures of the heavenly bodies. The final parts of the fourth volume and the entire fifth volume contain important material on physics not already included in the original sequence. This set contains the first state title-pages in the first two volumes, with French Republican dates only and without the added Berlin imprint (printed for European distribution). Dibner 14; Grolier/Horblit 63 (describing leaf \Kc1\k not present in the Norman collection, nor here); PMM 252; Milestones of Science 125; Norman 1277. (5)
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