Description et Usage d'un Cabinet de Physique Experimentale.
by SIGAUD de LAFOND, Joseph-Aignan (1730-1810).
Paris:: P. Fr. Gueffier, 1775., 1775. 2 volumes. 8vo. , iv, , ix-xxiv, 342; , 447, [7*] pp. [*final 7 pages misnumbered], collated and complete. 51 folding engraved plates, title vignettes. Original mottled calf, gilt-decorated spine, gilt leather spine labels, raised bands; rubbed. Very good. First edition. "Sigaud de Lafond was a French obstetrician and physicist and a devoted student of Jean-Antoine Nollet, who he succeeded as chair of experimental physics at the College Louis le Grand. "Sigaud was a prolific writer in the fields of experimental physics, chemistry, medicine, and (apparently as a consequence of his early Jesuit training) theology. Experimental science was a fashionable pursuit among the leisured classes in eighteenth-century France, and Sigaud was one of several illustrious popularizers who satisfied the intellectual appetites and curiosities of an ever increasing number of amateurs of science. Popular interest tended toward the more spectacular examples of natural phenomena; and lectures accompanied by demonstrations, especially on electricity and on the newly discovered gases, always attracted large and enthusiastic crowds. As a follower of the Abbe Nollet, Sigaud was apparently quite successful in appealing to this group of virtuosi, and most of his publications were written for the enlightened layman rather than the professional researcher. As a result, his work was generally not profound, creative, or original. He avoided theoretical explanations and instead emphasized phenomenological aspects. There is something, too, in his writing of the vulgar catering to the "goût des merveilles"—the popular fascination with the strange, the unusual, the bizarre." – DSB XII, p. 427.
(Inventory #: SW1651)
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