# 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 editions, separately-paginated offprint issues (journal paginations 254-9 and 259-63), of two of the most prescient papers in the history of astrophysics. “A pair of 1934 papers by Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky first clearly defined the category of supernovae, with a handful of examples, including the AD 1054 event... More

Item #4030

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. Königsberg: Friedrich Nicolovius, 1818. A fine copy of this work which “constitutes a milestone in the history of astronomical observations, for until then positions of stars could not be given with comparable accuracy: through Bessel’s work, Bradley’s observations were made to mark the beginning of modern astrometry” (Walter... More

Item #2660

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

Paris: Simeonis Piget, 1645. First edition, very rare, of “the first treatise after Kepler’s Rudolphine Tables to take elliptical orbits as a basis for calculating planetary tables” (The Cambridge Companion to Newton), and the first astronomy work to state that the planetary moving force “should vary inversely as the square... More

Item #2952

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 Cassini publications on the comet of 1664-5. Cassini observed the comet “in the presence of Queen Christina [to whom the first work is dedicated] and formulated on this occasion a new theory (in agreement with the Tychonian system)... More

Item #3076

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

Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1907/1908. First edition of one of Einstein’s most important works, “On p. 443 are probably the first explicit statements both of the equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass and of the equation for mass in terms of energy [E=mc2] now regarded as the theoretical basis for the... More

Item #3554

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: 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

First edition. Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1905. A very fine and completely unsophisticated copy, without stamps or any other markings in strictly contemporary cloth binding, Einstein’s groundbreaking 1905 paper, the introduction and derivation of the most famous equation in modern physics: E=mc2. “A few months after first publishing the theory... More

Item #3464

[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

Leibzig: S. Hirzel, 1916. First edition, extremely rare author’s offprint issue, of the theoretical discovery of the concept of a ‘wormhole,’ “a hypothetical ‘tunnel’ connecting two different points in space-time in such a way that a trip through the wormhole could take much less time than a journey between the... More

Item #3695

Rome: Giacomo Mascardi, 1623. First edition, first issue, of “one of the most celebrated polemics in the history of science” (DSB), often called Galileo’s “scientific manifesto.” This is a specially bound copy, in contemporary vellum gilt, with the arms of Cardinal von Zollern, who acted on Galileo’s behalf in his... More

Item #4142

Florence: G.G. Tartini & Santi Franchi, 1718. Second collected edition of the works of Galileo containing nearly 500 pages of writings, not included in the first collected edition in two volumes from 1656-55, and previously unpublished. In the third volume of the present edition appears here for the first time... More

Item #2706

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

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

First edition. Oxford: Sheldonian Theatre, 1702. A fine copy of the first text book of astronomy based on Newtonian principles, which contains the first printings of Newton's lunar theory and his "classical scholia". Babson 71; Gray 87. "The nephew of James Gregory, the mathematician, and the son of the Laird... More

Item #2221

Florence: Zanobi Pignoni, 1620. First edition, extremely rare, of this letter by Galileo’s disciple Guiducci to his former professor of rhetoric at the Collegio Romano, Tarquinio Galluzzi, defending Galileo against Orazio Grassi's attacks in his Libra astronomica (1619). This is the rarest of the series of polemical publications which documented... More

Item #4008

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