4 October 2002
BECQUEREL, Henri. Recherches sur une propriété nouvelle de la matière. Activité radiante spontanée ou radioactivité de la matière. Paris: Firmin-Didot et Cie., 1903.
4o. 71 photographic figures on 13 plates. Modern red three-quarter morocco, marbled boards, original printed wrappers bound in (few tape repairs to wrappers). Provenance: MAURICE HAMY (1861-1936), French astronomer (presentation inscription from the author).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY BECQUEREL TO MAURICE HAMY on the front flyleaf: "à Mr M. Hamy souvenir affectueux Henri Becquerel"). This is a separate issue from Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France 46 (1903). This is Becquerel's definitive memoir on his investigations into radioactivity, including his identification of electrons in radiations of radium, and his account of the evidence of a radioactive transformation. Becquerel had discovered this new property of matter in early 1896 and soon published several papers on the subject (see lot 8). The present memoir describes all his researches and conclusions to 1903, the year that he and the Curies received the Nobel Prize for their researches in radioactive phenomena.
Becquerel presented this copy of the Recherches to the French astronomer Maurice Hamy, a member of the Académie des Sciences and president of the Bureau des Longitudes. Hamy performed research in celestial mechanics and perfected the meridian circle and other astronomical instruments. The separate edition is MUCH RARER THAN THE JOURNAL ISSUE. Dibner Heralds of Science 163; PMM 393; Norman 159.
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