Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1738.
First edition of this famous book which announced the first experimental proof of Newton's theory of universal gravitation, and led to its acceptance on the continent. ❧ Norman 1458; Babson 94.
In the Principia Newton had predicted that the earth’s shape was that formed by the rotation of an ellipse round its minor axis: the Cassinis disagreed and said it was the figure formed by the rotation of the ellipse round its major axis. It was to settle this matter that the two great French expeditions, led by Maupertuis to measure the degree near the pole, and by Bouguer and La Condamine at the equator, were planned. Maupertuis was first back, and even before the results from Peru were known his measurements, compared with the earlier measurement of Picard, were enough to confirm Newton’s prediction. Maupertuis’ well written account of his hair-raising adventures in Northern Lapland, established his literary and scientific reputation.
8vo (193 x 123 mm), pp. xxiv  184 and 9 engraved plates with geometric figures plus 1 engraved map, contemporary calf with richly gilt spine, all edges gilt, outer hinges cracked but still strong, lower capital with a little chipping, some scrapping to the woodcut device of the Académie Royale on the title page.