Astronomy & Cosmology

Jeans, James | The Universe Around Us

  • Second printing, in the rare and evocative Raymond McGrath-designed dust jacket.

    Author James Jeans (1877-1946) was a respected Cambridge mathematician and astronomer, best known for his work on rotating, gravitational bodies, "a problem of fundamental importance that had already been tackled by some of the leading mathematicians" (ODNB), and the motions, structures, and life-cycles of stars and stellar clusters.

    "In 1928 Jeans's academic work Astronomy and Cosmogony came to the attention of S. C. Roberts, the secretary of Cambridge University Press, who appreciated the general interest of its subject matter and the attraction of Jeans's writing style. He persuaded Jeans to write a popular account, The Universe Around Us, which was published by the press in 1929" (ODNB). Jeans's popularity as a writer "depended partly on his topic-new, thought provoking views of the universe-and partly on his style, which combined an authoritative knowledge of the subject with a vivid turn of phrase" (ODNB).

    As Jeans describes it in the introduction, The Universe Around Us is “a brief account, written in simple language, of the methods and results of modern astronomical research, both observational and theoretical. Special attention has been given to problems of cosmology and evolution, and to the general structure of the universe.”

    The dust jacket designer, Raymond McGrath (1903-1977) was a printmaker, illustrator, architect, and interior designer whose first commission was the interior of the BBC’s Broadcasting House in 1930. He later completed commissions for Imperial Airways and the War Artists’ Advisory Committee, and spent the latter part of his career as Senior and the Principal Architect at the Office of Public Works in Dublin.

  • Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1929.

    Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. 24 plates, illustrations and diagrams within the text. A few small spots to the cloth, light dampstain affecting the edge of the upper board, partial toning of the free endpapers, some faint toning of the contents. A very good copy in the rubbed, tanned, and price-clipped jacket with slight dampstain corresponding to that on the cloth, a chip from the head of the spine panel, and some smaller chips and short closed tears.