A "MASTERPIECE OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY": FIRST EDITION OF MAXWELL'S MATTER AND MOTION, 1876
MAXWELL, James Clerk. Matter and Motion. London/New York: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge/Pott, Young, 1876. Slim octavo, original printed brick cloth. $3200.
First edition of this influential work in natural philosophy, the first to introduce the term "relativity" in physics, in original cloth.
A "masterpiece of natural philosophy, notable especially for introducing into physics the term relativity in a passage that combines strenuous scientific insight with a mystical awareness… [It] had a strong influence on Poincaré" (Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 209). "More light is thrown on Maxwell's own opinions about the problem of relative and absolute motion and the connection between dynamics and other branches of physics by the delightful monograph Matter and Motion, published in 1876" (DSB). "From a long view of the history of mankind—seen from, say, ten thousand years from now—there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell's discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison with this important scientific event of the same decade" (Feynman). "Maxwell's equations have had a greater impact on human history than any ten presidents" (Sagan). Four pages of publisher's advertisements. Part of the "Manuals of Elementary Science" series.
Mild embrowning to preliminary and concluding pages, one corner of front blank expertly restored, staining to head of spine. A near-fine copy.