Geology & Earth Science
Aikin, John | The Calendar of Nature
Third edition of this charming little book on the changing of the seasons from month to month by the “physician and man of letters” John Aiken (1747-1822) (Hahn, The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature).
Aiken charming combines practical knowledge of nature and gardening with literary references. For April he writes: “This month gives the most perfect image of Spring; for its vicissitudes of warm gleams of sunshine, and gentle showers, have the most wonderful effects in hastening that universal springing of the vegetable tribes, from whence the season derives its appellation. April generally begins with raw unpleasant weather, the influence of the equinoctial storms still in some degree prevailing, Its opening is thus described in a poem of Mr. Warton’s: ‘Mindful of disaster past, And thinking of the northern blast, The fleety storm returning still, The morning hoar; the evening chill; Reluctant comes the timid Spring...’ Early in the month, that welcome guest and harbinger of Summer, the swallow, returns. The kind first seen, is the chimney, or house, swallow, known by its long forked tail, and red breast. At first, here and there, only one appears, glancing quick by us, as if scarcely able to endure the cold. ‘The swallow for a moment seen, Skims in haste the village green’.”
A very nice copy in an attractive contemporary tree calf binding. With the ownership inscription and notes of a woman, Eliza Davenport, who obtained this copy in 1810. Davenport’s short pencilled notes at the rear of the volume relate to a handful of observations of flowering plants and other phenomena.
...Designed for the Instruction and Entertainment of Young Persons. The Third Edition. London: Joseph Johnson, 1787.
Duodecimo (155 x 95mm). Contemporary tree calf, spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers. 1810 ownership inscription to the verso of the front free endpaper, pencilled notes of a similar date to the verso of the rear blank. Binding lightly rubbed at the extremities, the corner of B6 torn, not affecting the text, light spotting to the contents. Very good condition.
Applin, Esther Richards | "Subsurface Stratigraphy of the Coastal Plain of Texas and Louisiana"
Offprint of the paper proving that microfossils could be used to date the layers of the Earth’s crust and identify potential oil-bearing zones, a key insight of modern geology. An attractive copy in very nice condition.
Author Esther Richards Applin (1895-1972) was an petroleum geologist at the Rio Bravo Oil Company. “In a paper presented at a Geological Society meeting in 1921 by her supervisor at Rio Bravo, Applin suggested that microfossils could be used to date strata. She was ridiculed by more experienced geologists for her audacity... To verify her claim, Applin worked with Alva Ellisor and Hedwig Kniker to find ways to separate the fossils from the matrix of the cuttings. In 1925, the three coauthored a paper that detailed the sequences and oil-bearing zones in the Gulf Coast using microfossils” (Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science p. 46).
...reprinted for private circulation from Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Vol. 9, No. 1, January-February 1925.
[Tulsa, OK]: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 1925.
44 page offprint. Original tan wrappers printed in black. 1 plate, 1 illustration within the text. Wrappers lightly rubbed and toned with some small chipped areas at the edges of the lower wrapper. Text clean and fresh. Very good condition.
Bigelow, Frank H. | Balloon Ascensions
- A substantial, 196-page manuscript of measurements obtained during meterological balloon flights in South America, Europe, Africa, and the United States between 1906 and 1911 (the title gives a date range of 1911-1913, but there do not seem to be any entries after 1911).
The compiler of this manuscript, meteorologist and astronomer Frank H. Bigelow (1851-1924), grew up in Concord, Massachusetts and was educated at the Episcopal Theological School in nearby Cambridge. During the 1870s and 80s he served two stints as assistant astronomer at the Argentine National Observatory at Cordoba, where many of these measurements were made, and also worked as a professor of mathematics at Racine College, as assistant in the National Almanac Office in Washington D. C., and as a professor of meteorology at the National Weather Bureau.
Neatly written on graph paper, each entry in this manuscript is laid out as a grid with the columns headed by elevations. The rows are labelled with a variety of mathematical formula that often relate to each other as they descend the page, “T₁ - T₀” followed by “log T₁ - T₀”, or “T” followed by “log T” then “Log T₁ - T₀” and “Log (Log T₁ - T₀)”. There are also rows where work is presumably checked (check) and various rows are added together (summ). Unfortunately, we cannot locate a guide to the symbols used here, making it difficult to determine exactly what Bigelow was studying. Prose notes occasionally appear, however, and seem to indicate that his measurements were connected with heat and possibly solar activity. “Since z increases upwards the (-) sign indicates loss of heat energy from level to level outwards... The evidence is strongly against the theory that absorption is proportional to the density or path length...” “The assumed (E₁ - E₀) solar near surface seems to require special modification because the p values are impossible...”.
As well as meteorology, Bigelow studied the solar corona, aurora, and terrestrial magnetism, and it may be in pursuit of these subjects that the present ascensions were made. It is also unclear whether Bigelow or a colleague actually went up in the balloons, or whether they were uncrewed weather balloons which had first been used in the late 1890s by the French meteorologist Léon Teisserenc de Bort. We suspect the former, as results are given for multiple elevations during each flight. Unusually, within the manuscript the flights are bound entirely out of date order, and it’s unclear whether this was an accident or a way to highlight or connect certain results. This manuscript would benefit from attention by an informed cataloguer or scholar, in connection with similar materials....Cordoba - Argentina 1911 - 1913. Europe and United States. 1906-1911.
Folio (352 x 215 mm), single leaves oversewn in sections onto sawn-in cords. 196 page manuscript in black and red ink and pencil, rectos only. Leaves numbered in blue crayon. Contemporary quarter black skiver, black pebble-grain cloth, titles to spine gilt, marbled endpapers, graph paper leaves. Spine professionally relined and reattached to text block by Bainbridge Conservation, binding rubbed and worn, particularly along the spine, endpapers and blanks tanned, contents a little toned, a few contemporary ink blotches. Very good condition.
Boos, C. Maynard & Margaret Fuller | "Tectonics of Eastern Flank and Foothills of Front Range, Colorado"
Offprint inscribed by Margaret Boos on the title, “To Sherman Wengerd, with appreciation for his prompt and careful editing of the manuscript, Margaret and Maynard Boos”.
Geologist Margaret Boos (1892-1978), known as Peggy to her friends, was one of the 20th century’s leading experts on the geology of the Rocky Mountains, principally the structure and stratigraphy of the Front Range; carried out important work on minerals and petroleum reserves in the region; and taught at universities across the American West, including establishing and serving as head of the Department of Geology at the University of Denver. She met her husband, C. Maynard Boos, while both were graduate students at the University of Chicago and he became “an ideal field partner”, helping her expand on her own work (Jacobson, “Margaret Fuller Boos: Colorado Pegmatite Geologist”, Matrix vol. 5, summer 1998. p. 74). Boos became one of the first female members of the American Geological Association and in 1975 the US Board of Geographic Names designed a previously unclimbed mountain in Alaska “Peggy’s Peak” in her honour. “Boos was very interested in supporting women students studying geology at Northwestern University; following her death, the Margaret Fuller Boos Scholarship was established as a permanent endowed fund for women graduate students at Northwestern” (Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science). The present paper is on the subject for which Boos and her husband are best know, the geology of the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies, and is listed as a key work in the Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science.
The recipient of this inscribed offprint, Sherman Wengerd (1915-1995) was a distinguished petroleum geologist at the University of New Mexico and a leader in his field, responsible for more than 140 academic publications and the supervision of 30 masters theses and PhD dissertations.
...[offprint from] The Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, volume 41, number 12.
Denver, CO: The American Association of Petroleum Geologists, December, 1957.
Duodecimo, stapled. Small arrow in ink pointing to the authors’ names. A few of the outer leaves split at the head and tail of the spine, but still firmly bound. Excellent condition.
Buick, Thomas Lindsay | The Mystery of the Moa: New Zealand's Avian Giant.
First edition, first impression. An unusually attractive copy in the scarce dust jacket. The Mystery of the Moa is a scientific and historical narrative of the giant birds of New Zealand, covering their origin in prehistory, behavior and habitat, relationship to Maori culture, extinction, and the European search for fossils and living specimens. The plates include photographs of Moa skeletons and eggs (including the famous image of Sir Richard Owen next to the York specimen), New Zealand landscapes, and Maori and European individuals associated with the Moa.
Author Thomas Lindsay Buick (1865-1938) "was a man of considerable intellectual ability, substantially self-educated, who began writing New Zealand history by chance but soon developed a lasting commitment to the task. During a busy career as a journalist he managed to write 12 books and a small number of pamphlets, many of which he published at his own expense. Buick had a fluent prose style and a firm sense of narrative structure. He synthesised a wide range of printed sources and, particularly for his earlier works, sought out eyewitnesses and others closely associated with historical events. Through The Treaty of Waitangi and other books and speeches, he played an important role in establishing the treaty as New Zealand's foremost historical document, asserting that it was 'in very truth the foundation of our nationhood'. He belongs to the small group of New Zealand-born historians, including Robert McNab, James Cowan and Elsdon Best, writing in the first quarter of the twentieth century, who worked out of a sense of duty and with little or no financial reward to make New Zealand's past readily accessible to the general reader" (Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand online).
- Published under the auspices of The Board of Maori Ethnological Research. Illustrated. New Plymouth, NZ: Thomas Avery & Sons Limited, 1931. Octavo. Original dark blue-green pebble cloth boards, titles to spine and upper board gilt. With the dust jacket. Frontispiece and 26 plates. Corner of upper board bumped, cloth a little dulled, white mark to upper board, a little light spotting to edges of text block and occasionally to contents. A very good copy in the jacket that is generally fresh with a few spots, a faint ring to the upper board, and some small chips and short closed tears.
Croll, James | Climate and Time in Their Geological Relations
First edition, first impression of this key early work of climatology. A very attractive copy in a handsome binding and rare on the market, with only one appearing in recent auction records, at Swann Galleries in 2012.
Following a peripatetic youth, in 1859 the self-educated Scotsman James Croll (1821-1890) settled into an appointment at the Andersonian University in Glasgow, which provided him access to the University Library and the leisure to pursue scientific research. Croll was particularly interested in glaciation and climate, and published a series of papers during the 1860s “that had a profound impact on physical geography” (ODNB).
He postulated a global climatic feedback system that took into account factors such as the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit, the precession of the equinoxes, ocean currents and thermohaline density, and global wind patterns. “Such a system accounted for cyclic global climate patterns, explaining both the occurrence of glaciations and intervening equable periods such as the Carboniferous. Indeed, Croll believed that if enough land ice formed, the earth's centre of gravity could shift, making the ensuing climatic changes even more severe. Croll's various theories proved influential at the time, attracting the attention, and often the approbation, of Charles Darwin, Archibald and James Geikie, Sir Charles Lyell, A. R. Wallace, and Thomson, among others” (ODNB).
Climate and Time in Their Geological Relations was the culmination of this series of papers and was itself highly regarded within the scientific community. The year after publication he became FRS as well as an LLD of St Andrews, and “over the years he also won three funds' awards from the Geological Society of London” (ODNB).
...A Theory of Secular Changes of the Earth's Climate. London: Daldy, Ibister, & Co., 1875.
Octavo (214 x 137 mm). Contemporary half calf, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, marbled sides, endpapers, and edges. Colour frontispiece and 7 plates of which 1 is folding. Bookplate. Binding lightly rubbed at the extremities, tiny puncture affecting a few contents leaves, and the associated impression (rather than puncture) affecting the title and first few leaves of text. Contents clean and fresh. An excellent copy.
Emiliani, Cesare | Ancient Temperatures
- Offprint of an early popular article on ancient climate by one of the founders of the field, Cesare Emiliani (1922-1995).
During the late 1950s Emiliani studied the tests (shells) of marine amoebas called foraminifera that are found in samples taken from the floors of the deep oceans. He realised that the oxygen isotope composition of the tests was influenced by atmospheric conditions at the time they were alive and that the deep-sea cores could be used to chart climate going back millions of years. This work laid the foundations for modern analysis of past climates. It also established that the ice ages were a cyclic phenomena; contributed to our understanding ocean floor spreading and plate tectonics; and provided influential support for the hypothesis of Milutin Milanković that climate changes in the deep past had been driven by long-term alterations in the Earth’s orbit and geology. Emiliani remained a leading figure in the study of Earth’s climate history through the 1990s, and was awarded both the Vega Medal and the Alexander Aggasiz Medal.
...Reprinted from Scientific American, February 1958. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1958.
12 page pamphlet, stapled. Illustrations throughout. Very faintly toned at the extreme edges of the spine and wrappers. A superb copy.
Goin, Peter & Peter Friederici | A New Form of Beauty
First edition, first printing of this significant work on the changing landscapes of the American West, as represented by the Glen Canyon reservoir. Signed by both authors on the title, with an additional inscription by Friederici, “Off into the ‘Great Unknown’!”.
Photographer Peter Goin focuses on human-altered landscapes and is best known for his series on nuclear test sites, published in 1991 as Nuclear Landscapes. His work has been exhibited at more than fifty US and international museums, and he has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, as well as nominated for an Emmy for his work in experimental video.
Co-author Peter Friederici is an award-winning journalist and academic specialising in science and the environment. As he writes in the introduction, “This book is about that moment of falling when the solid ground under us gives way to something new. It is about the vanishing of the second-largest artificial lake in America in the face of the new, potent phenomenon we call climate change... Though the book focuses on one reservoir in the Colorado River Basin, it is really about all our known landscapes as we watch them shape-shift into new forms.”
...Glen Canyon Beyond Climate Change. Photographs by Peter Goin. Essays by Peter Friederici. Tucson, AR: The University of Arizona Press, 2016.
Oblong quarto. Original dark blue cloth, titles to spine in orange. With the dust jacket. Colour illustrations throughout, including 1 folding plate. A fine copy in the jacket.
Hansen, James | Storms of My Grandchildren
First edition, first printing of this important popular work by leading climate scientist James Hansen (1941 - ).
Hansen, currently director of the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University, has been studying climate change since the 1970s, making important contributions to our understanding of the atmosphere of Venus; how the global average temperature is measured and calculated; the effects of black carbon (such as that produced by forest fires and burning coal); and the design and analysis of climate models, showing that climate change has been occurring faster than most early models predicted.
Hansen first came to public prominence when he testified to Congress in 1988 on the causes and effects of climate change, and in recent years he has been an outspoken activist, critical of ineffectual mitigation policies, and being arrested three times during 2011 demonstrations against the Keystone Pipeline. Storms of My Grandchildren explains the science of anthropogenic climate change, why it threatens humanity’s future, discusses the political issues that kept it from being adequately addressed, and proposes a way foreword for the economy and environment.
...The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. Illustrations by Makiko Sato. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009.
Octavo. Original black boards, titles to spine in silver. With the dust jacket. Illustrations and charts within the text. Spine a little rolled. An excellent, fresh copy in the bright jacket.
Hibbert, Samuel | History of the Extinct Volcanos of the Basin of Neuwied
First and only edition of this rare work on the effect of volcanic activity on the development of the Rhine Valley, in the original cloth. WorldCat locates only three copies, at Berlin, Göttingen, and the University of Manchester. Only two have appeared at auction in the last decade, this copy at at Forum Auctions in 2017 and one in library cloth at Dominic Winter in 2013.
Author Samuel Hibbert Ware (1782-1848) was an antiquarian and geologist who spent most of his life in Edinburgh, where he was a member of numerous learned societies and was friendly with notables such as Sir Walter Scott. “In 1817 Hibbert visited Shetland, where he discovered 'chromate of iron' and undertook a geological survey of the country. For this discovery the Society of Arts awarded him in 1820 the Iris gold medal. In Shetland he also discovered what he described as 'native hydrate of magnesia'. In 1822 he published his Description of the Shetland Islands, in which he described the local geology and antiquities. Hibbert contributed various papers to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, of which he was secretary from 1823 to 1827, with responsibility for obtaining contributions for meetings and preparing them for publication. He remained an active member of the society, editing volumes and helping run the museum, under what were sometimes difficult conditions.... In 1824, at the request of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, Hibbert delivered at Manchester a course of lectures on geology, and in 1827 a further course for the Manchester Royal Institution... He and his family also spent two or three years abroad, chiefly visiting the volcanic districts of France, Italy, and northern Germany, and he published a History of the Extinct Volcanoes of the Basin of Neuwied on the Lower Rhine (1832) on his return to Edinburgh” (ODNB).
A History of the Extinct Volcanos was well received in the scientific community. A near contemporary, Edward Hull, described it as a work of “remarkable merit, if we consider the time at which it was written. For not only does it give a clear and detailed account of the volcanic phenomena of the Eifel and the Lower Rhine, but it anticipates the principles upon which modern writers account for the formation of river valleys and other physical features; and in working out the physical history of the Rhine Valley below Mainz, and its connection with the extinct volcanos which are found on both banks of that river, he has taken very much the same line of reasoning which was some years afterwards adopted by Sir A. Ramsay when dealing with the same subject. It does not appear that the latter writer was aware of Dr. Hibbert’s treatise” (Hull, Volcanos Past and Present, p. 7).
...on the Lower Rhine. With Maps, Views, and Other Illustrations. Edinburgh & London: W. and D. Lang; Treuttel and Wurtz ad Richter, 1832.
Octavo. Original brown silk morieé, printed paper label to spine. 2 hand-coloured maps, one being the double page folding frontispiece, 6 lithographed plates of which 3 are double page, 18 illustrations within the text. Table and directions to the binder at rear. Publisher’s advert on the front pastedown, covered by a late-19th century Munden family bookplate. Splits at the head of the spine, some small worn spots at the extremities, joints cracked, some light offsetting affecting the maps, some of the plates darkened, light spotting to the edges of the text block. Edges untrimmed. Very good condition.
Jenyns, Leonard | Observations in Meteorology
First edition of this significant contribution to 19th century meteorological records, uncommon in such nice condition.
By the close of his career author Leonard Jenyns (later Blomefield, 1800-1893) was considered a “patriarch of natural history studies in Great Britain” (ODNB). Interested in science from a young age, Jenyns attended Cambridge, where he became a close friend and collaborator with J. S. Henslow. In 1823 Jenyns was ordained, and his first post was as curate of Swaffam Bulbeck, where he made the meteorological observations published in the present volume. Cambridge was nearby, and he maintained strong relations with his colleagues there, becoming friends with the younger Charles Darwin during the naturalist’s time as an undergraduate. Most famously, Jenyns was invited to join the Beagle voyage but declined and recommended Darwin instead, later writing that, “no better man could have been chosen for the purpose” (Darwin Correspondence project biographical sketch). Darwin and Jenyns remained friends and correspondents for the rest of their lives, with Jenyns describing the fish specimens that Darwin collected on his journey, culminating in Fishes of the Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, published between 1840 and 1842.
Jenyns was a tireless observer, and made numerous contributions to the field of natural history. Other than the Fishes, his most important publications were A Systematic Catalogue of British Vertebrate Animals and A Manual of British Vertebrate Animals; “the latter work was held in high estimation as a work of reference” (ODNB). “In 1856 at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Cheltenham, he read a paper entitled 'The variation of species', a paper of which Darwin asked to be sent a copy. (Jenyns broadly supported the latter's ideas, subsequently published in Origin of Species.) In 1869 Jenyns was the donor of the Jenyns Library, a munificent gift of some 1200 volumes, which went to Bath's Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. He also donated to this institution his choice herbarium of British plants, consisting of more than forty folio and an equal number of quarto volumes, the result of his life work in this branch of science... The Proceedings of the Bath Field Club abound with papers and addresses from his pen. Not the least valuable are those on the climate and meteorology of Bath. It was entirely at his instance that the small observatory was erected in the Institution gardens in 1865” (ODNB).
...Relating to Temperature, the Winds, Atmospheric Pressure, the Aqueous Phenomena of the Atmosphere, Weather-Changes, etc., Being Chiefly the Results of a Meteorological Journal Kept for Nineteen Years at Swaffham Bulbeck in Cambridgeshire... London: John van Voorst, 1858.
Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt, decorative roundels to spine and borders to boards clocked in blind, yellow coated endpapers. Single leaf of publisher’s ads at rear. Lightly rubbed at the extremities, spine a little rolled, endpapers and half title tanned, occasional small spots to contents. An excellent copy, the cloth fresh.
Mann, Michael E. | The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars
First edition, first printing. Presentation copy inscribed on the front free endpaper, “3/24/2012, To John & Louis, thanks for all you’re doing, Michael Mann”.
This "important and disturbing account" of climate change science and politics is by leading researcher Michael Mann of Penn State’s Earth Science System Center (Kirkus Reviews).
Mann was the leader of the team that produced the 1999 “hockey stick graph” showing the dramatic rise in atmospheric temperature of the past century as compared with the previous thousand years. Mann’s work is central to the current understanding of anthropomorphic climate change, he has published four books and more than two hundred papers, and has been involved with numerous high-profile government and scientific organisations. Mann has also been on the receiving end of the climate change disinformation campaign, most notably in 2009 when his email was hacked and cherry-picked statements were released to make it look as though his results were fabricated. Following this, the Republican Attorney General of Virginia demanded, and was denied, access to his papers and Mann was also forced to sue several news organisations for defamation.
This volume covers the basics of climate science, Mann’s personal experiences in the field, including the development of the hockey stick graph, and the aggressive disinformation campaigns waged against climate scientists by fossil fuel companies, politicians, and the right-wing media.
...Dispatches from the Front Lines. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
Octavo. Original red boards, titles to spine in black. With the dust jacket. A fine copy in the jacket.
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center | Science in Orbit
First edition and a beautiful copy of this book celebrating the Space Shuttle’s scientific mission and laboratory capabilities, copiously illustrated in full colour. Among the topics covered in this technically advanced volume are studying the human body in space; materials and chemical processes in microgravity; observing the Sun; plasma physics in space; atmospheric science and Earth observations; and astronomy and astrophysics.
...The Shuttle & Spacelab Experience: 1981-1986. Washington D. C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988.
Tall quarto. Original illustrated boards depicting the space shuttle, dark blue embossed endpapers. Colour illustrations throughout. Small area of residue where ownership ticket or small bookplate was removed from the front pastedown. Very light rubbing at the tips, pages faintly toned at the edges. Excellent condition.
Revelle, Roger, et al. | The Buffer Mechanism of Sea Water
Offprint of this important paper correcting the long-held assumption that most of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere was absorbed by the oceans, among the earliest work of Roger Revelle (1909-1991), one of the founders of modern climate change science.
Oceanography was a young field and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at La Jolla still a small marine station when Revelle arrived as a research associate in 1931. The following year he was engaged in cataloguing samples of marine sediments when he became interested in calcium carbonate and the “buffer mechanism” of seawater, its ability to regulate C02 in the atmosphere. He and his co-authors “found that only half of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuel and other anthropogenic activities went into the ocean, not ninety-eight percent as had previously been thought. Revelle later cited this work as the beginning of his interest in the carbon cycle which eventually led him to an interest in measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide” (Day, Roger Randall Dougan Revelle Biography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives).
Revelle went on to a distinguished career, serving as director of the Scripps Institution between 1950 and 1964 and as a scientific advisor to the Kennedy administration, though he also supported nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific and anti-Communist loyalty oaths. He was instrumental in creating the International Geophysical Year and was founding chairman of the first Committee on Climate Change and the Ocean.
...Bulletin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, La Jolla, California. Technical Series, Volume 3, No. 11, pp. 231-278, 6 figures in text, 9 tables. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1934.
Octavo. Lacking the wrappers. Graphs and tables within the text. Lacing the wrappers, as noted. Some spotting to the lower edge of the text block. Very good condition.
Tyndall, John | Contributions to Molecular Physics in the Domain of Radiant Heat
First collected edition, presentation copy inscribed in the year of publication by the author on the half title, “Herbert Spencer Esq, from his friend, the Author June 1872”. The recipient was the biologist and philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), best known for coining the phrase “survival of the fittest” based on Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.
The author, physicist John Tyndall (1820-1893) was one of the first scientists to show that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere controls the Earth’s climate (Eunice Foote has only recently been recognised as the first to publish a paper explaining the greenhouse effect).
During the 1820s French physicist Joseph Fourier showed that the atmosphere retained heat, but was unable to determine the mechanism by which this occurred. “Tyndall pondered how the atmosphere might control the earth’s temperature, but he was stymied by the opinion, held by most scientists at the time, that all gases are transparent to infrared radiation. In 1859 he decided to check this out in his laboratory. He confirmed that the main gases in the atmosphere, oxygen and nitrogen, are indeed transparent. he was ready to quit when he thought to try coal gas. This gas, produced by heating coal and used for lighting, was piped into his laboratory. He found that for heat rays, the gas was as opaque as a plank of wood. Thus the industrial Revolution, intruding into Tyndall’s laboratory in the form of a gas jet, declared its significance for the planet’s heat balance. Tyndall went on to try other gases, an he found that the gas CO2 was likewise opaque — what we would now call a ‘greenhouse’ gas” (Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming, p. 3). Tyndall went on to discover, as Foote also had, that water vapour was also an important greenhouse gas, calling it “a blanket more necessary to the vegetable life of England than clothing is to man” and pondering on its role in creating the ice ages.
The present volume collects seventeen different writings by Tyndall on aspects of atmospheric science, including the key papers “On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours”, “On the Relation of Radiant Heat to Aqueous Vapour”, “On Radiation through the Earth’s Atmosphere” and “Further Researches on the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gaseous Matter”, as well as historic remarks and further analysis.
- ...A Series of Memoirs Published in the 'Philosophical Transactions' and 'Philosophical Magazine,' with Additions. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1872.
Octavo. Original red cloth, rebacked with the original spine laid down, titles to spine gilt. 2 page ad for other works by Tyndall and 20 page publisher’s ads dated March 1872 preceding the index, tipped-in errata slip. 2 folding plates, steel engravings within the text. Ink stamp of Herbert Spencer to the title. Professionally rebacked as noted with the original spine laid down, 2 cm of cloth from the head of the spine panel lacking but not affecting the title, small repairs to corners and edges of boards, tissue repairs to the gutter of the front free endpaper and half title, contents toned and a little brittle. Very good condition.