BECQUEREL, [Antoine] Henri.

Recherches sur une Propriété Nouvelle de la Matière. Activité radiante spontanée ou radioactivité de la matière. [In:] Mémoires de l’Académie des Sciences, vol. 46.

Paris: Typographie de Firmin-Didot et Cie., 1903

4to, 2 leaves, 360 pages, 2 leaves, and 71 illustrations on 13 collotype plates. Modern full brown morocco by Aquarius, sides panelled in gilt, spine with raised bands and panelled in gilt, inner gilt dentelles, t.e.g., other edges uncut, original wrappers bound in at end, cloth slipcase. Rowland Lloyd Morgan in gilt panel on upper cover. Half-title and verso of last plate browned, but a fine copy.

FIRST EDITION of Becquerel’s highly important account of investigations into radioactivity. This ‘paper’, which occupies the entire volume, was his definitive work. “The discovery of X rays stimulated interest in a group of elements known to emit spontaneously some kind of phosphorescence or rays of energy. In 1896 Antoine Henri Becquerel, French physicist, found that metallic uranium darkens photographic plates and concluded that uranium emits radiation similar to X rays. As a result of his experiments summarized in Recherches sur une propriété nouvelle de la matière (1903), Becquerel discovered the principle of radioactivity. In that year he shared the Nobel Prize for physics with the Curies” (Sparrow). Printing and the Mind of Man 393. Dibner, Heralds of Science, 163. Sparrow, Milestones of Science, p. 46 and plate 201. Partington IV, p. 936. This is a copy in a particularly fine modern binding.


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