# Astronomy, Relativity Theory

First edition. Venice: Bernardinus Bindonus, 1537. Very rare editio princeps of Apollonius’ Conics, the basic treatise on the subject, “which recognized and named the ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola” (Horblit 4, on the later edition of 1566). This is one of the three greatest mathematical treatises of antiquity, alongside those of... More

Item #3075

First edition. Königsberg: Gebrüder Bornträger, 1841-42. “Bessel's measurements of positions for about 50,000 stars and rigorous methods of observation (and correction of observations) took astronomy to a new level of precision. He was the first to accurately measure the parallax, and hence the distance, of star other than the Sun... More

Item #2657

First edition. Bologna: G.B. Ferroni, 1648. An outstanding copy of this rare compendious scholastic mathematical work by the Jesuit mathematician Mario Bettini (1582-1657), encompassing all the major fields of mathematics, but paying special attention to geometry. Bettini’s Aerarium covers a wealth of information not just in mathematics but also astronomical... More

Item #2435

London: Printed by N[icholas] O[kes] for Simon Waterson, 1609. First edition, very rare, of one of the earliest English books on dialing, the last of four books published by the famous English mathematician during his lifetime. It is unusual to find such early English scientific books in fine condition and... More

Item #3366

London: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1948. First edition, the extremely rare offprint, of the first published paper to propound the ‘steady-state’ model of the universe, according to which the universe is expanding but unchanging, with no beginning or end, and in which matter is continually being created... More

Item #4162

First edition. London: Taylor & Francis, 1904. Rare offprint issue of the Brace experiment - the first optical experiment measuring the relative motion of Earth and the luminiferous aether which was sufficiently precise to detect magnitudes of second order to v/c. The Brace experiment was of great importance for the... More

Item #2990

Rome: Fabio di Falco, 1665. First editions of these two exceptionally rare publications on the comet of 1664-5, which was observed my many astronomers, including Auzout, Borelli, Fabri, Hooke, Hevelius, Petit, and Newton as a studnt. The second work is also especially notable for containing the first published description of... More

Item #4194

Rome: Francesco Zanetti, 1581. First edition of Clavius’ masterwork on the theory and construction of sundials, “la plus grand ouvrage existent sur la gnomonique” (Houzeau & Lancaster). Clavius considers the astronomical background, the geometrical theory and the various construction methods. The design of sundials occupied many mathematicians in this period... More

Item #3855

Leiden: Jan Maire, 1637. First edition, a fine, large copy in untouched contemporary vellum, of Descartes’ first and most famous work. Following the Discours, now celebrated as one of the canonical texts of Western philosophy, are three ‘Essais’, the last of which, La Géométrie, contains the birth of analytical or... More

Item #3990

Braunschweig: Freidr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1918. Presentation copy, inscribed and signed by Einstein, of the third edition (first published the previous year) of his ‘popular account’ (Gemeinverständlich) of relativity theory, which remains one of the most lucid explanations of the special and general theories ever written. According to the preface... More

Item #4145

Berlin: Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1914. First edition of this extremely rare offprint, a remarkable presentation copy inscribed by Einstein to the theoretical physicist Gunnar Nordström, often designated by modern writers as ‘The Einstein of Finland’. Einstein had an extended correspondence with Nordström on the subject of Nordström’s own competing... More

Item #4148

Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1925. First edition, extremely rare author’s presentation offprint (not to be confused with the much more common trade offprint – see below), and the copy of Einstein’s son Hans Albert, of Einstein’s first original paper on unified field theory, and the first to use the term... More

Item #4035

[Not published: Pasadena: California Institute of Technology, 1963]. First edition, very rare, of Feynman’s lectures on gravitation, famous for their highly original approach to general relativity. “In this tour de force, we get to look over the shoulder of one of the most brilliant physicists of all time as he... More

Item #3670

First edition. Venice: Sumptibus Lucentonii Juntae Typographi, 1533. A fine copy, with contemporary annotations, of these very rare ephemerides, containing tables as well as astrological prognostications for the years 1534 through 1551, each preceded by a special title page. ❧Horblit 447 (two leaves in in facsimile); Honeyman 1448 (10 leaves... More

Item #3211

First edition. Berlin: Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1828. First printing of what is now called the Gauss-Newton interpolation formula; which enables one to predict the value of a quantity given a finite number of observations. Gauss had lectured on the interpolation formula at Göttingen in 1812; his then student Encke... More

Item #2983

La Flèche: George Griveau, 1645. Presentation copy of the first edition of this rare and richly illustrated Jesuit anti-Copernican tract by Jacques Grandami (1588-1672), rector of the Jesuit college of La Flèche, which was attended by both Descartes and Mersenne. In this work Grandami employs the ‘magnetic philosophy’ initiated by... More

Item #4171

Naples: Matthaeus Nuccius, 1627. First Italian edition, very rare, of Grassi’s counter-polemic against Galileo’s Il saggiatore (1623). This is the concluding work in the series of publications which document the “controversy of the comets,” one of the most infamous polemics in the history of science. According to Drake, these texts... More

Item #4009

London: Printed for the Author, and Sold by Mr. Sandby, 1765. First edition, extremely rare, published by Harrison (1693-1776) himself with the technical assistance of the optical instrument maker James Short (1710-68), in which Harrison defended the success of his chronometer H4, and staked his claim to be awarded the... More

Item #3952

London: Richard Taylor, 1833. First edition, the very rare offprint issue, of Herschel’s famous ‘Slough Catalogue,’ which includes 2306 nebulae and star clusters, 525 of which were discovered by Herschel himself. (Parkinson, Breakthroughs 296). He was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1836 for this work... More

Item #3162

Florence: In officina Iuntarum, Bernardi filiorum, 1567. First edition, very rare, of the only surviving work of Hipparchus (c. 190-127 BC). “Even the most casual discussion of ancient astronomy will not fail to call Hipparchus of Nicaea in Bithynia ‘the greatest astronomer of antiquity’ (Otto Neugebauer, ‘Notes on Hipparchus,’ Astronomy... More

Item #3643

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1920. First edition of the doctoral thesis of the foremost observational astronomer of the twentieth century, which foreshadows much of Hubble’s later work. In particular, it contains the first suggestion that some of the ‘nebulae,’ or galaxies, lie outside the Milky Way, and thus that... More

Item #3532

[Washington, D.C.]: Carnegie Institution, 1929. First edition, extraordinarily rare inscribed offprint, of Hubble’s landmark paper, which “made as great a change in man’s conception of the universe as the Copernican revolution 400 years before” (DSB). Even ‘ordinary’ copies of this offprint are very rare, but we have never seen nor... More

Item #3988

Marburg: Caspar Chemlin, 1624-1625. First edition of Kepler’s logarithmic tables, the basis of his monumental Rudolphine Tables, constructed by means of his own original method. Of the greatest rarity, especially complete with the correction leaf and the second part, which gives examples of the application of logarithms and details of... More

Item #3609

Middelberg: Zacharias Roman [Colophon: Leiden: Willem Christiaens van der Boxe], 1632. First edition, very rare, of Lansbergen’s astronomical tables. Lansbergen was a staunch Copernican, and “complained with justification that the Church opposed the heliocentric hypothesis on theological grounds alone, without examining the evidence and the scientific arguments in its support”... More

Item #4061

LEFÈVRE D’ÉTAPLES, Jacques, BO[U]VELLES, Charles de, & CLICHTOVE, Josse.

Paris: H. Estienne & W. Hopyl, 27 June 1503. First edition of this very rare collection of works, in an attractive Roger Payne binding. The individual works are all first editions with the exception of Lefèvre’s Epitome of Boethius’ De arithmetica (first, 1496) and an unattributed Opusculum de p[r]axi numerorum... More

Item #3866