[EUCLID]. DECHASLES, Claude-François Milliet. The Elements of Euclid explain’d in a new but most easie method ... Oxford, Lichfield for Anthony Stephens, 1685.
A very attractive copy in a contemporary English binding of the first edition of this English translation of Dechasles’s Euclidis Elementorum libri octo, a paraphrase of Euclid’s Elements.
This work covers Books 1 to 6, together with Books 11 and 12, of Euclid’s Elements. Another, more common English edition was published in London by Phillip Lea in the same year, the translation being by Reeve Williams.
‘Dechales [is also known to have] adopted Galileo’s theory of motion, where he introduced several original views and developments.
FELICIANO, Francesco. Libro di arithmetica et geometria speculativa et praticale … intitulato Scala Grimaldelli ... Venice, Francesco Bindoni and Maffeo Pasini, 1536.
The scarce second edition of Feliciano’s most famous work (following the publication of his Libro de abaco of 1517), generally known as the Scala Grimaldelli (first, 1526, and extremely rare).
‘Feliciano’s second work was highly esteemed as a textbook for schools ... more complete than the Treviso book, more modern than Borghi, more condensed than Paciuolo, few books had greater influence on the subsequent teaching of elementary mathematics’ (Michele Cigola, editor, Distinguished Figures in Descriptive Geometry and its Applications for Mechanism Science pp. 53).
MALFATTI, Gianfrancesco. Della curva cassiniana e di una nuova proprieta’ meccanica … Pavia, at the Monastery of S. Salvatore, .
First and only edition of Malfatti’s treatise on Cassini’s curve.
‘Malfatti became famous for his paper De aequationibus quadrato-cubicis disquisitio analytica (1770), in which, given an equation of the fifth degree, he constructed a resolvent of the equation of the sixth degree, that is, the well-known Malfatti resolvent. If the root is known, the complete resolution of the given equation may be deduced … [In the present work] Malfatti demonstrated that a special case of the Cassini’s curve, the lemniscate, has the property that a mass point moving on it under gravity goes along any arc of the curve in the same time as it traverses the subtending chord’ (DSB).
In 1799 Gauss was to discover the relationship between the lemniscate sine function and the arithmetic-geometric mean iteration, which pried open the entire field of nineteenth century elliptic and modular function theory.
Newton, Sir Isaac. The Method of Fluxions and infinite series with its application to the Geometry of Curve-Lines … To which is subjoin’d, a perpetual comment upon the whole Work … London, Henry Woodfall, 1736.
First edition, an interesting copy with some early corrections or notes in ink and pencil, of Newton’s work on Fluxions, ‘one of his greatest mathematical works’ (Cambridge Companion to Newton).
‘In the Method, Newton gives the solution of a series of problems “in illustration of this analytical art,” mainly problems of maxima and minima, tangents, curvatures, areas, surfaces, volumes and arc lengths. With qualities represented as generated by continuous flow, all of these problems can be reduced to the following two (one the inverse of the other).
1. Given the length of the space at every time, to find the speed of motion at any proposed time.
2. Given the speed of motion at every time, to find the length of the space described in the proposed time.
This is among the greatest generalizations in the history of mathematics, reducing the great majority of problems faced by mathematicians of the time to two basic problems’ (Cambridge Companion to Newton).
This is Newton’s fullest exposition of the calculus; though the last of his works on calculus to be published, it was the work which he himself intended to publish first, in Latin, in 1671. The first page of the manuscript (preserved in Cambridge University Library) is lost and the title De Methodus Fluxionum was supplied by John Colson when he first published it in this translation, with his own extensive commentary.
[NEWTON]. [PFAUTZ, Christoph]. Isaaci Newton, Matheseos Professoris Cantabrigiensis, & Regiae Societatis Anglicanae Socii, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Londoni, jussu Soc. Regiae, 1687, in 4. [contained in:] Acta Eruditorum Anno M DC LXXXVIII publicata, ac Serenissimo Principi Ac Domino Dn. Friderico, Regnorum Daniae ac Norvegiae Haeredi &c. &c. Dicata. Leipzig, J. Grossius and J.F. Gleditsch, 1688.
The highly important Acta eruditorum review of the Principia.
There were four early reviews of the Principia: the first appeared in no. 186 of the Philosophical Transactions but, ‘not only did Halley finance, edit, publish and distribute Principia, he also reviewed it, anonymously, in P[hilosophical] T[ransactions]. It is little more than a summery interspersed with expressions of praise’. The second appeared in the Bibliothèque Universelle of March 1688, consisting ‘of nothing more than the headings of the sections of Books I and II translated into French. There is also a summary of Book III, and an introductory paragraph …’ The final review was that in the Journal des sçavans, August, 1688, in which ‘Newton’s hypothesis was dismissed as arbitrary, unproven and belonging to geometry rather than mechanics’.
Published in June, 1688, the review in the Acta is the third in sequence, and ‘the most detailed and serious of the four reviews. It was comprehensive enough to provide many people in Europe without access to the Principia itself with a fairly full account of its contents’ (Gjertsen, The Newton Handbook p. 472).
ROCCO, Antonio. Esercitationi filosofiche di D. Antonio Rocco filosofo peripatetico. Le quali versano in considerare le positioni, & obiettioni, che si contengono nel Dialogo del Signor Galileo Galilei Linceo contro la dottrina d'Aristotile. Alla santita di N.S. Papa Urbano VIII. Venice, Francesco Baba, 1633.
First edition of this important and rare critique of Galileo’s Dialogo, published within a year of the Dialogo, and the work to which, as a consequence, much of the Galileo’s Discorsi e Dimostrazioni Mathematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze (1638) was written as a reply.
Rocco’s Esercitationi prompted Galileo to explain ‘how he detected and corrected the falsehood in Aristotle’s law of free fall’ (Shea) and formulated his own law of falling bodies. Wallace, examining the reasons why the Aristotelians are accorded better treatment in the Two new sciences, as compared to that in the Dialogo, remarks that ‘a factor that is noteworthy was the publication of a book in late 1633 and dedicated to Pope Urban VIII that defended Aristotle’s teaching against the attacks made by Galileo in the Dialogo. The author of the work entitled Esercitationi Filosofiche, was Antonio Rocco, and it is to Galileo’s credit that he read and annotated Rocco’s critique and even wrote out a series of replies to him, some of which later appeared in the Two new sciences’.
SCHOOTEN, Frans van. De Organica Conicarum Sectionum in Plano Descriptione, Tractatus. Geometris, Opticis, Prasertime verò Gnomonicis Mechanicis utilis. Cui subnexa est Appendix, de Cubicarum Aequationum resolution. Leyden, Elzevier, 1646.
The de Thou copy of van Schooten’s work on conic sections, a work studied by Newton.
‘Schooten’s first independent work was a study of the Kinematic generation of conic sections (1646). In an appendix he treated the reduction of higher-order binomial irrationals to the form x + √y in cases where this is possible, using a development of a procedure of Stifel’s. An interesting problem that Schooten considered was how to construct a cyclic quadrilateral of given sides, one of which is to be the diameter - a problem that Newton later treated in the lectures on Arithmetica universalis (Mathematical Papers, V, 162–181).
‘Fascinated by the personality and ideas of Descartes, he worked hard to popularize the new mathematics; his highly successful efforts assured its triumph’ (DSB).
WERNER, Johannes. In hoc opere haec continentur: Libellus … super Vigintiduobus Elementis Conicis; eiusdem commentarius seu paraphrastica enarratio in undecim modos conficiendi eius problematis quod Cubi duplicatio dicitur; eiusdem co[m]mentatio in Dionysodori problema, quo data sphaera plano sub data seca[n]t ratione, alius modus idem problema co[n]ficiendi ab eode[m] Ioanne Vernero novissime co[n]pertus demo[n]stratusq[ue]; eiusdem Ioannis, de motu octavae Sphaerae, Tractatus duo; eiusdem Summaria enarratio Theoricae motus octavae Sphaerae … Nuremberg, Friedrich Peypus for Lucas Alantsee, 1522.
The extremely rare first edition of Johannes Werner's original publication on the theory of conic sections and on the motion of the eighth sphere.
Communicated to Copernicus by the Polish cartographer Bernard Wapowski as an extract and covering only the 'motion of the eighth sphere', this section was critically studied by Copernicus, resulting in the so-called letter against Werner.
Whereas the original exchange between Wapowski and Copernicus was most probably intended to be private, Wapowski decided to share his friend's assessment of this single section of Werner's work. Manuscript copies of Copernicus' Letter subsequently circulated among major scientists over a period of time, partly resulting in the wider distribution of Werner's printed work.
Werner’s Libellus is a collection of five separate works published and financed by Werner’s rich friend, the publisher Lucas Alantsee (died 1523 Vienna). The work, in five parts, which was written between 1505 and 1513, was not revised for publication by Werner. ‘The treatise containing twenty-two theorems on conic sections was intended as an introduction to his work on duplication of the cube. For that reason Werner dealt only with the parabola and hyperbola but not with the ellipse. In a manner similar to the methods of Apollonius, Werner produced a cone by passing through the points of the circumference straight lines that also pass through a point not in the plane of the circle. In contrast to the ancients he did not consider the parabola and the hyperbola to be defined as plane curves but regarded them in connection with the cone by which they were formed. He proved the theorems on conic sections through geometrical observations on the cone.