publisher's quarter cloth over paste paper covered limp boards, printed label on upper cover
1847 · Berlin, Germany
by Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Berlin, Germany: G. Reimer, 1847. publisher's quarter cloth over paste paper covered limp boards, printed label on upper cover. 8vo. publisher's quarter cloth over paste paper covered limp boards, printed label on upper cover. [iv], 72 pages. First edition of the first comprehensive statement of the law of conservation of energy, one of the classic texts in the history of science. 'On the basis of this short paper, written when he was only twenty-six, Helmholtz is ranked as one of the founders, along with Joule and Mayer, of the principle of conservation of energy' (Norman Catalogue). This work was 'an outcome of [Helmholtz's] interest in the problem of perpetual motion. Leaning heavily on the value of experience in the formulation of ideas, he concluded that perpetual motion was impossible without the continued replenishment of energy from some source. Analyzing different forms of energy and different types of force and motion, Helmholtz grouped them into two categories - active (kinetic) and tension or dead (potential) forces. He gave the mathematical expression to the energy of motion as being the product of half the mass times the square of the velocity of motion. This provided an experimental measure in research of all forces including muscular and chemical' (Dibner).
Helmholtz 'was able to derive a general equation that expressed the kinetic energy of a moving body... This equation could be applied in many fields to show that energy is always conserved and it led to the first law of thermodynamics, which states that the total energy of a system and its surroundings remains constant even if it may be changed from one form of energy to another' (Hutchinson's Dictionary of scientific biography p318).
This classic paper was presented ot the Physikalische Gesellschaft of Berlin on July 23, 1847, and submitted to Poggendorff for publication in the Annalen but was turned down by him. Helmholtz then had it printed privately.
Provenance: traces of stamp on verso of title and with bookplate 'Joh. Krebs' pasted over; Franz Sondheimer, with bookplate; n 697 in the Professor Franz Sondheimer collection of rare books on chemistry
Dibner 159; Evans 41; Garrison and Morton 611; Horblit 48; PMM 323; Norman 1039; Parkinson p 132; Sparrow 96.
(Inventory #: 131431)