Baltimore Lectures on Molecular Dynamics and the Wave Theory of Light; Founded on Mr A. S. Hathaway's Stenographic Report of Twenty Lectures Delivered in Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in October 1884: Followed by Twelve Appendices on Allied Subjects.
by KELVIN, Lord William Thomson (1824-1907).
London:: C. J. Clay and Sons, 1904., 1904. 8vo. xxi, , 694 pp. Figs., errata slip. Black gilt-stamped cloth, top edge gilt; rubbed. Small Stonyhurst College rubberstamp on title page. Very good. First edition, distinguishing between this and another alternate issue. There is a shorter length of the text (694 pages instead of 703), and in the alternate issue there is a second erratum. There are two distinctively different issues of this book. Originally published in papyrograph form as Notes of Lectures on Molecular Dynamics and the Wave Theory of Light. Delivered at the John Hopkins University, Baltimore… Stenographically Reported by A.S. Hathaway. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1884. The 1904 London edition, Baltimore Lectures on Molecular Dynamics and the Wave Theory of Light, is very extensively reworked with reprints of some of Kelvin's relevant papers. [Smith & Wise]. "Given his unshakable faith in the telegraph, Thomson apparently felt free to use his Baltimore Lectures as a forum for combating the leading young theorists of electromagnetism, who had strayed from the true path of latitudinarian practicality and into a false metaphysics. The forum was well chosen, for among his twenty-one hearers sat Lord Rayleigh (J.W. Strutt; 1842-1919), H.A. Rowland (1848-1901), A.A. Michelson (1852-1931), E.W. Morley (1838-1923), and other notables. He would attempt to show then, in a grand symphony of mechanical models, how a true dynamical theory might be constructed. But at the same time he would attempt to deliver a captivating sermon on proper empiricist methodology… Thomson's methods have usually been understood more narrowly, in terms of the justification of theories by analogies and mechanical models. That view is symbolized by classic lines from the Baltimore Lectures: 'I never satisfy myself until I can make a mechanical model of a thing. If I can make a mechanical model I can understand it. As long as I cannot make a mechanical model all the way through I cannot understand; and that is why I cannot get the electro-magnetic theory'." [Smith & Wise]. Smith & Wise, Energy and Empire: A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin, pp. 463-64, 815. / "Thomson, along with Helmholtz, was the primary author of the science of physics as it was known in 1900; it is for him that the absolute scale of temperature (in degrees Kelvin) is named. His series of twenty lectures delivered at Johns Hopkins University in October 1888 had not been written out in advance, and it was arranged that they would be transcribed in shorthand by one of the attendants, A.S. Hathaway. This verbatim report was later printed by the 'papyrograph' process (an early version of mimeograph) in an edition of a few hundred copies. 'Part of the extreme interest of the course arose indeed from [Kelvin's] unpreparedness. Admitted to the very laboratory of his thoughts, his hearers became eyewitnesses of his methods, his amazing intuitive grasp, his headlong leaps, his mathematical agility, his perpetual recurrence to physical interpretations, his vivid use of mechanical analogies, and his incessant resort to models, sometimes actual sometimes only mentally visualized, by which his meaning could be conveyed.' - (Thompson, p. 815).
(Inventory #: SW1141)
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