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Histoire de l'Astronomie au dix-huitieme siecle. Publiee par M. Mathieu.

DELAMBRE, Jean-Baptiste Joseph (1749-1822).

Published by Bachelier . . . 1827., Paris:, 1827
Hardcover
From Jeff Weber Rare Books, ABAA (Carlsbad, CA, U.S.A.)

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One of 6 volumes (complete in itself for the 18th century). 257 x 201 mm. 4to. lii, 796 pp. Frontis. portrait of Delambre drawn and engraved by E. Desmoulins, tables, 3 folding plates. Later quarter maroon morocco, morocco corners, raised bands, gilt spine; lightly rubbed. Ownership signature of John Williams Streeter. "VCO May 1949." Complete sets are rare these days. Fine copy. FIRST EDITION, published by Charles Mathieu after Delambre's death. Delambre published the two volume Histoire de l'astronomie ancienne in 1817, followed by Histoire de l'astronomie du moyen age in 1819, adding two volumes of Histoire de l'astronomie moderne in 1821. The sixth and final volume is what is available here. It is a complete treatment of 18th century astronomy on its own. Bernard Cohen offers: "Delambre's Histoire de l'Astronomie is a work without parallel in any of the sciences. It is a technical work, written â" as he said â" 'mainly for astronomers, and mathematicians in general.'" "Delambre . . . presents each major chronological period in a series of discrete analyses of one treatise . . . after another." Delambre's work provides no synthesis, no generalization, no display of insight into the causes for progress of decline; the reader is provided rather with the contents of the works treated by Delambre, "a critical estimate of its worth, and then he compares and contrasts several works by the same author." Delambre "is especially good on astronomical tables and on methods of observation and calculation. A great virtue is the wealth of information on minor figures, for whom no other account may be available. "Above all, Delambre spices his presentation with acerb and delightful comments. UNQUESTIONABLY THE SIX-VOLUME HISTOIRE IS THE GREATEST FULL-SCALE TECHNICAL HISTORY OF ANY BRANCH OF SCIENCE EVER WRITTEN BY A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL. IT SETS A STANDARD VERY FEW HISTORIANS OF SCIENCE MAY EVER ACHIEVE." â" I. Bernard Cohen, DSB. Delambre, suffered from small pox before he was 1 year of age, but he (obviously) survived, losing his eyelashes and he nearly lost his eyesight as well. Apparently his eyesight improved slowly with age. He studied at the Jesuit College in Amiens. He was awarded a scholarship to the College du Plessis in Paris and there he studied classical languages preparing for a university education. He became determined to teach himself mathematics and become exceptional in calculations. In discovered Lalande's work in 1780 and began studying under him at the College de France. "When Lalande was looking for a new assistant in 1783 to undertake observations for a new edition of his Traite d'astronomie, he turned to Delambre who was his best student. Lalande lent Delambre some equipment and the observational data he collected with it was incorporated into the third edition of Lalande's Traite d'astronomie which would appear in print in 1792. In 1786 Delambre recorded a transit of Mercury across the Sun. At the time which had been predicted for the transit there was cloud and nothing was visible. Most astronomers gave up, but not Delambre who did not believe that the time predicted for the transit by Lalande was correct. When the cloud cleared forty minutes after the transit was predicted to end, Delambre was able to observe that the transit was still taking place. It was the realization that the existing tables were inaccurate which led him to devote much effort into producing new ones." Lalande won the 1789 Grand Prix for the calculation of the precise orbit of Uranus. The tables for which he is best known were developed under the observatory that was fitted for Delambre, and in 1792 he published Tables du Soleil, de Jupiter, de Saturne, d'Uranus et des satellites de Jupiter . He also worked at the bureau of longitudes (published in 1806). Arago stated "In perfecting the methods of astronomical calculation he merits, by reason of the variety and elegance of his methods, a distinguished place among the ablest mathematicians F. Bookseller Inventory # S11561

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Histoire de l'Astronomie au dix-huitieme ...

Publisher: Bachelier . . . 1827., Paris:

Publication Date: 1827

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: 1st Edition

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