Boltson, Howard | 19 Meticulous Birding Notebooks kept during the 1980s and early 1990s.
An exceptional set of notebooks recording the observations of an Audubon Master Birder between 1985 and 1992, primarily on Long Island, but also including trips within the US and Caribbean. Natural history records of such depth and specificity are extremely rare, and this set has fantastic potential for research into a wide range of topics, from the impact of climate change to the social history of birding and citizen science. While it is unfortunate that notebooks one through five, and eleven, are lacking, this is still a very significant and nearly complete set of material covering almost a decade.
The compiler of these records, Howard Boltson, lived in East Northport, near Huntington on Long Island, and was heavily involved with local and national ornithology groups. A member of the Huntington Audubon Society, he had completed the organisation’s rigourous, multi-week Master Birder course and was a regular volunteer, including as a field trip leader. He participated in Project Birdwatch, an initiative of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs. Begun in 1986, the project’s goal was to identify and describe seasonal patterns of bird distribution by combining data from the weekly reports of experienced observers (”How to Join Project Birdwatch” in Feathers, the newsletter of the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club, winter 1986). He also regularly submitted reports of rare bird sightings to the New York State Avian Records Committee, and his photos were published at least twice in the Journal of the North American Bluebird Society (the spring and winter 2003 issues). Boltson was featured in the local press several times, including for an article about swans in which he is introduced as “the bird man of Huntington” (Ketcham, “On the Swan Trail”, Long Island Journal, January 28th, 1996).
Boltson’s notebooks are meticulous records of his bird watching. Each session is given a date and location (sometimes accompanied by hand-drawn maps), and notes are made about the weather and other conditions. Boltson then lists all the individual birds spotted, including their sex when the species is dimorphic, and he records details of those he can’t immediately identify, sometimes adding drawings to assist his memory. Activities that he witnessed, such as nesting and feeding, are included, as are bird calls. Other animals, in one case a turtle, make appearances. Most of the entries are written in black ink with special notes in red, such as his early retirement in 1986 (”First day of retirement - N. Y. Life - good luck to me!”), the “red letter day” in his feeder notebook when a black-capped chickadee eats from his hand for the first time, as well as his concerned report of a new heat record in notebook 18. Red ink is also used to mark the birds he adds to his life list, returning later to write their list number around the earlier text where he identified them. Totals are given for the number of species seen per month and cumulatively, with separate totals for life list additions. Boltson also records organised activities, such as field trips and lectures he either attended or led, usually tallying his expenses and gas mileage, and including the names and phone numbers of participants. A quantity of related material such as coupons, receipts, flyers, news clippings, and recording forms are loosely inserted. While the majority of Bolston’s birdwatching was done locally at sites such as Jamaica Bay and Sunken Meadow on Long Island, he sometimes travelled further, including to upstate New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Washington D. C., Miami and the Everglades, and the Bahamas. The feeder notebook records activities at his home between November 1986 and February 1993, including the types and amounts of bird food he was putting out, the birds who appeared, and their behaviours.
East Northport, NY, 1985-1993.
19 spiral-bound pocket notebooks, each approximately 120 pages, with card covers (approximately 160 x 110 mm), completely filled with extensive manuscript notes in black, and occasionally red, ink. All but one of the notebooks are numbered (6 through 24) and each is labelled on the cover with the month and year that it was begun and ended. The other is labelled “Feeder Notes, East Northport L. I. N. Y., Nov 1986 - Feb 1993”. Inside each of the covers Boltson has written his name, address, phone number, and current roles in birding organisations. The brands of the notebooks are Pen-Tab, Jericho, Diamond Supply Company, and CVS. Most of the contents are manuscript text, but there are frequent drawings and sometimes loosely inserted material. Notebook 11 (September 1987-March 1988) is lacking, and presumably there were also notebooks numbered 1-5 that are not included here. There is light wear to the edges of the notebooks, especially around the upper corners. Excellent condition.
Geiger, Hans, John Harling & Ernest Marsden. “On the Diffuse Reflection of the α-Particles"
First edition, first impression of one of the five key papers resulting from Ernest Rutherford’s landmark gold foil experiment, which led to the modern understanding of atomic structure. An attractive copy and uncommon in the original journal format, as here.
During the early years of the 20th century physicists had a poor understanding of the structure of atoms, whose existence had only been proved mathematically by Einstein in 1905. The leading — though still controversial — theory was J. J. Thomson’s “plum pudding” model, which posited that the mass of an atom was evenly distributed, with negatively charged electrons appearing throughout like raisins in a Christmas pudding. If that were the case, alpha particles emitted by radioactive substances should pass through atoms with little or no deflection. But in an elegant series of experiments Ernest Rutherford, Hans Geiger, and Ernest Marsden showed that they were often deflected, sometimes by more than 90 degrees, as described here in “On the Diffuse Reflection of the α-Particles”. Rutherford used the results of these experiments to mathematically model the alpha scattering, proving that atoms contained a dense, positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons with little mass, publishing this conclusion as "The Scattering of α and β Particles by Matter and the Structure of the Atom" in 1911.
...in Proceedings of the Royal Society Series A., Vol. 82, No. A557. London: for the Royal Society by Harrison & Sons, July 31, 1909.
Octavo. Original grey wrappers printed in black. 1 plate. Spine slightly toned with some loss from the head and tail, a couple of tiny chips and nicks to the wrappers, closed tear of the lower wrapper. Very good condition.
Mantell, Gideon | The Wonders of Geology
Fourth edition, published in the year after the first. A rare early edition of this popular work on the Earth’s history by the founder of dinosaur palaeontology Gideon Mantell, with the remarkable mezzotint frontispiece “The Country of the Iguanodon” by Romantic painter John Martin, as well as illustrations by Mary Ann Mantell, who has been credited with discovering the first Iguanodon tooth.
Though educated as a physician, Gideon Mantell (1790-1852) made enormously important contributions to geology and palaeontology. “His assiduous investigations of the strata and invertebrate fossils of eastern Sussex culminated in The Fossils of the South Downs (1822), his first book (of twelve), with lithography by his wife. Having by then explored the rich vertebrate deposits of Tilgate Forest (near Cuckfield), he announced in February 1825 the discovery of Iguanodon, one of the various kinds of dinosaurs (not yet so called) with which he was subsequently associated. Although his earliest evidence consisted of teeth only, these were sufficient to establish the, at the time unique, identity of Iguanodon as an extinct gigantic herbivorous reptile and to secure for Mantell entry into the Royal Society” (ODNB). In 1832 he announced the discovery of the second dinosaur to be identified, Hylaeosaurus. “Heavily armoured, Hylaeosaurus confirmed that dinosaurs walked on solid ground and were not amphibian, as had earlier been thought” (ODNB).
For a time Mantell displayed his fossils in his private museum in Brighton, where the painter John Martin, already known for his fantastical compositions, “was among the stream of famous and fashionable visitors” (Rudwick, Scenes from Deep Time, p. 78). Mantell recorded in his journal that Martin “was deeply interested in the remains of the Iguanodon etc. I wish I could induce him to portray the country of the Iguanodon: no other pencil but his should attempt such a subject” (Rudwick, p. 79). The resulting painting hung in Mantell’s museum and was reproduced in mezzotint to serve as the frontispiece for the present book, a successful popular account that went through eight editions by the early 1860s.
As science historian Martin Rudwick explains in Scenes from Deep Time (1992), in Martin’s painting “The peaceful, pastoral tone of so many earlier scenes [of the prehistoric world] has been abruptly replaced by the nightmarish ‘Gothick’ melodrama of the Martinesque style. Three huge reptilian monsters are preying ferociously on each other, watched by a smaller winged one. Although evidently inspired by the iguanodon and pterodactyl, the animals are portrayed with scant regard for anatomical accuracy and are derived more from the long artistic tradition represented by innumerable paintings of ‘Saint George and the Dragon’... the application of Martin’s style to the nascent genre of prehistoric scenes vastly enlarged the imaginative repertoire available to those who designed such scenes. The deep past could now be depicted as idyllic, or nightmarish, or something in between, with little if any constraint from the prosaic evidence of geology itself” (Rudwick, p. 81).
...or, A Familiar Exposition of Geological Phenomena; Being the Substance of a Course of Lectures Delivered at Brighton. In Two Volumes. Fourth Edition. London: Relfe and Fletcher, 1839.
2 volumes, octavo. Original purple pebble-grain cloth elaborately blocked in blind with arabesque designs to the boards and spines, titles to spines gilt, yellow coated endpapers. Mezzotint frontispoiece to volume I, hand-coloured lithographic frontispiece to volume II. 10 hand-coloured lithographic plates at the end of volume II, illustrations throughout the text. 2 integral leaves of ads for Mantell’s work at the end of volume II. Ownership signature dated 1879 to each front free endpaper. Cloth browned and mottled, wear at the ends of the spines, particularly to volume I, bumps to the corners of both volumes and the head of the spine of volume I, occasional light spots to contents. A very good set.
Conklin, Edward Grant | The Organization and Cell-Lineage of the Ascidian Egg
First edition, first printing of a foundational work in embryology. This copy from the library of marine biologist Ernest William MacBride, who donated it to Imperial College Library, from which it was officially withdrawn. Rare in commerce.
Though he considered a religious career, Edward Grant Conklin’s (1863-1952) “burning interest was in biology, and he decided to enter the graduate school at Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins was an extraordinary place to obtain a graduate education in biology because it was a relatively new school with revolutionary plans to integrate the experimental method into American biology... During the summer of 1890, Conklin was at Woods Hole in search of suitable material for his doctoral dissertation. He chose the marine snail Crepidula and discovered that its eggs divide according to a fixed pattern of spiral cleavage, which enabled him to follow individual cells and their descendants to their final places in the tissues and organs of the larva. He had performed one of the first cell lineage analyses, which were the rage at Woods Hole for the next decade. This experience also launched a lifelong love of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, where Conklin subsequently spent almost every summer. After graduate school, as a faculty member at Northwestern University and at the University of Pennsylvania, Conklin extended his cell lineage studies to the embryos of other animals, including the ascidian Styela. This was to be his most important and indelible work. Conklin found that Styela eggs showed different pigments, which were localized in the cytoplasm and after fertilization segregated into the progenitor cells of different larval tissues. The most spectacular of these regions was the yellow crescent, or myoplasm, which was deposited in the tail muscle cells of the tadpole larva. Conklin had discovered a natural cell lineage marker. More importantly, he had demonstrated that the undivided egg, far from being a homogeneous mass of protoplasm, possesses a remarkable degree of cytoplasmic organization” (Society for Developmental Biology biography).
The Swiss developmental biologist Walter Jakob Gehring would later describe the paper as a “milestone”, praising in particular its colour lithographs. “This article of 120 pages and 12 plates, including 5 color plates was published in the Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia which allowed him the use of colored plates, depicting among other things the yellow crescent, a fascinating structure in the Styeia embryo which still has kept some of its secrets. Originally I thought that Conklin had exaggerated he brilliance of the yellow crescent in his publication, but when I saw the crescent of Styeia for the first time through the microscope with my own eyes, I became convinced that Conklin's illustraions are completely accurate” (Gehring, “Precis of Edwin G. Conklin's JEZ article, ‘Mosaic Development in Ascidian Eggs’”, Journal of Experimental Zoology, vol. 301, no. 6, 2004).
Conklin was also “A strong supporter of the Eugenics movement” and “a member of numerous societies dedicated to the ideology of purifying the Human race of unwanted and unfavorable elements. Conklin was a charter member of the Galton Society, which was formed in 1918 by Madison Grant, as well as being director of the American Eugenics Society from 1923 until 1930” (The Embryo Project Encyclopedia).
The previous owner of this copy, Ernest William MacBride (1866-1940), spent most of his career as a professor of zoology at University College London and was one of the last professional biologists to support both the Lamarckian theory of evolution and the idea that embryological stages recapitulate a species’ evolutionary history. Like the author of this paper he was a prominent eugenicist, a supporter of forced sterilisation and of fascist dictatorships in Europe.
Philadelphia: Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences, 1905.
Folio. Blue cloth library binding, blue morocco title label to spine. 12 plates of which 5 are colour lithographs. Ownership signature of E. W. MacBride to the front free endpaper. Library call numbers to tail of spine in white, Imperial College Library bookplates, bar code ticket, and lending card to the front endpapers with withdrawn stamps, library ink stamps to both sides of the title leaf. Cloth scuffed and marked with some worn areas along the joints and at the ends of the spine, title page toned, occasional light spots and marks to contents. Very good condition.
Schultes, Richard Evans & Albert Hofmann | Plants of the Gods. Origins of Hallucinogenic Use
First edition, first printing of this key reference on hallucinogenic plants by two leaders of the 20th-century psychedelics movement. Copies in fine condition such as this one are particularly uncommon.
Widely considered the founder of modern ethnobotany, Richard Schultes (1915-2001) spent most of his career travelling the Amazon, where he consulted with indigenous people and investigated the plants they used for religious and medicinal purposes. His co-author, Albert Hoffman (1906-2008), was the Swiss chemist who first synthesised LSD and discovered its hallucinogenic effects, and who later isolated psilocybin and psilocin, the primary psychedelic compounds in mushrooms. This volume, copiously illustrated and written for a popular audience, describes the primary species of psychoactive plants and explores their use around the world and throughout history.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979.
Quarto. Original green cloth, title to spine and design to upper board gilt. With the dust jacket. Colour illustrations throughout. A fine copy.
Geruzez, [Nicolas Eugène] | Leçons de Mythologie
Second edition, volume II only. An unusual educational text on Greek mythology for girls between ten and fourteen by the French literature professor Nicolas Eugène Géruzez (1799-1865) of the Sorbonne, attractively illustrated with six double-page plates of mythological figures. This volume begins with the seventh week of lessons and continues through the 12th, so presumably the first volume covers the first six weeks. Though the title page states that this is the second edition, the publishing history of these mythological texts by Geruzez is confused, with several appearing in WorldCat under slightly different titles during the late 1830s and early 40s, though all are rare on the market.
...Deuxième Édition. Cours Complet d'Education Pour les Filles. Deuxième Partie. Èducation Moyenne de Dix a Quatorze Ans. Paris: L. Hachette, 1841.
Small folio. 19th-century quarter calf, spine compartments in blind, brown pebble-grain cloth, olive endpapers. Text in French. 6 double-page engraved plates. Joints splitting, some rubbing and marks to the cloth, light spotting to contents. Very good condition.
Human Genome Project | The initial sequencing of the human genome published in Nature in February, 2001
First edition of the initial sequencing of the human genome. An attractive copy in the original wrappers, complete with the original CD, the “Geography of Our Genome” poster, and a poster reproducing the journal cover in large format, all in unused condition. Together with a copy of The Genome Directory published as a Nature supplement in 1995, the extended human genetic linkage map published in 1996, and a poster of the genome as it was understood in 2000. Copies in such nice condition, particularly with the additional material, are rare.
The possibility of sequencing the entire humane genome had been proposed as early as 1979, and interest among both scientists and governments increased during the 1980s as technological advancements made the concept more feasible. The first federal funding was received in 1987 and the project was officially launched in 1990. Involving scientists in the US, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and China, it remains the world’s largest collaborative biological research undertaking.
“The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium published the first draft of the human genome in the journal Nature in February 2001 with the sequence of the entire genome's three billion base pairs some 90 percent complete. More than 2,800 researchers who took part in the consortium shared authorship. A startling finding of this first draft was that the number of human genes appeared to be significantly fewer than previous estimates, which ranged from 50,000 genes to as many as 140,000. The full sequence was completed and published in April 2003. Upon publication of the majority of the genome in February 2001, Francis Collins, then director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, noted that the genome could be thought of in terms of a book with multiple uses: ‘It's a history book - a narrative of the journey of our species through time. It's a shop manual, with an incredibly detailed blueprint for building every human cell. And it's a transformative textbook of medicine, with insights that will give health care providers immense new powers to treat, prevent and cure disease’” (”What is the Human Genome Project?”, website of the National Humane Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health).
In addition to the 2001 issue of Nature, this set includes The Genome Directory, published in September 1995 as a supplement to Nature volume 28, issue 6547S. As the introduction explains, “the speed with which the information [on the genome] has accumulated is remarkable... Even five years ago Genebank contained fewer than 3,000 genes, and only a few percent of the human genome had been mapped to contigs [overlapping sequences] of any sort. Yet this directory contains a description of 88,000 expressed sequence tags, or ESTs, of which 30,000 can be combined into contigs termed ‘tentative human consensus’ sequences”.
Also included is the final Généthon Human Genetic Linkage Map, published by Nature in March 1996. A French laboratory, Généthon was founded in 1990 with the specific aim of decoding and mapping the human genome as an outgrowth of research on muscular dystrophy. Pulling ahead of American teams working in the same field, they produced the first tentative mapping of the human genome in 1992, and released successive versions of it up to this one in 1996 before turning their focus to gene therapy (Généthon website). Finally, there is also a large poster published by Nature, “The 24 Volumes of the Human Book of Life (October 2000 edition)” that visualises the then-current map of the genome.
Nature, volume 409, issue 6822, 15 February, 2001. Together with two prior Nature publications on the progress of human genetic sequencing. London: Nature Publishing Group, February 15th, 2001.
Perfect bound. Complete issue in the original wrappers, with the original “Geography of Our Geonome” poster and the CD in its slipcase loosely inserted as issued. This copy also includes a reproduction of the cover design as a poster, a large poster of the draft genome from October 2000, a copy of the 382-page “Genome Directory”, a supplement to Nature volume 377, issue number 6547S, published on September 28th, 1995, and a copy of the 1996 Généthon Human Genetic Linkage Map. Colour illustrations throughout, including a folding chart of the genome sequence. Head of spine bumped but otherwise a clean and fresh copy in excellent condition, with the additional material in fine condition.
Peck, Leilani, Leonora Moragne, et al | Focus on Food
First edition. One of the authors of this home economics textbook was the prominent Black nutrition scientist Lenora Moragne (1931-2020) who worked as a hospital dietician before earning her doctorate at Cornell.
“With an illustrious career that spanned 60 years, Moragne held positions in hospitals, industry, nutrition publishing, academia and government. Her positions within the federal government include head of nutrition education and training for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service; nutrition coordinator at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and a professional staff member for Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.), specializing in nutrition. She was the first professional female (of any race or ethnic group) to be employed by the Senate Agriculture Committee. From 1970 until she was recruited by Dole, Moragne taught at Hunter College and was the college’s first African American professor. During her years in Washington, D.C., she wrote nutrition legislation, improved school lunch programs and developed a pamphlet titled ‘Nutrition and Your Health…Dietary Guidelines for Americans 1990.’ Moragne often traveled throughout the U.S. to promote nutrition and dietetics and delivered lectures to nutrition professionals” (”Remembering Leonora Morage”, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation website, February 5th 2021).
New York: Webster Division, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1974.
Quarto. Original orange laminate boards printed in green and purple. Colour illustrations throughout. Binding a little rubbed and bumped, mild waviness to text block. A very good copy.
Webb, James E. | Three uncommon imprints by NASA administrator James E. Webb
James E. Webb (1906-1996) was NASA’s second administrator and one of its most significant, seeing the agency through the Mercury and Gemini programs and the preparation for the Apollo missions.
To Webb, “the space program was more than a political race. He believed that NASA had to strike a balance between human space flight and science because such a combination would serve as a catalyst for strengthening the nation's universities and aerospace industry... Webb's vision of a balanced program resulted in a decade of space science research that remains unparalleled today. During his tenure, NASA invested in the development of robotic spacecraft, which explored the lunar environment so that astronauts could do so later, and it sent scientific probes to Mars and Venus, giving Americans their first-ever view of the strange landscape of outer space. As early as 1965, Webb also had written that a major space telescope, then known as the Large Space Telescope, should become a major NASA effort. By the time Webb retired just a few months before the first moon landing in July 1969, NASA had launched more than 75 space science missions to study the stars and galaxies, our own Sun and the as-yet unknown environment of space above the Earth's atmosphere. Missions such as the Orbiting Solar Observatory and the Explorer series of astronomical satellites built the foundation for the most successful period of astronomical discovery in history, which continues today”. Webb also “enhanced the role of scientists in key ways. He gave them greater control in the selection process of science missions and he created the NASA University Program, which established grants for space research, funded the construction of new laboratories at universities and provided fellowships for graduate students” (”Who is James Webb?”, NASA James Webb Space Telescope website).
Webb’s legacy has been complicated by allegations that at the State Department and NASA he played a leading role in the lavender scare, in which hundreds of gay personnel were fired from the federal government. In 2021 four astronomers published an op-ed in Scientific American requesting the renaming of the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope, but NASA administrators announced that an inquiry into Webb’s actions determined it was unlikely he had played a key role in the firings and the name would be kept.
These pamphlets deal with various aspects of space science and the space race. “Man Must Take Environment into Space” discusses the hostile environment of space and the ways that NASA scientists have prepared their vehicles and crew for it. “Administration and Management of Space Exploration” lays out the structure and goals of NASA, and “From Runnymede to Ganymede” is the text of a historical talk that Webb gave at the Celebration of the Prelude to Independence in Williamsburg, Virginia on May 27th, 1967.
...“Man Must Take Environment into Space, Project Gemini.”, “Administration and Management of Space Exploration, Project Apollo”, and “From Runnymede to Ganymede” in Speaking of Space and Aeronautics Vol. IV, No. 1. Washington D.C.: NASA, 1962 & 1967.
3 16-page, wire-stitched pamphlets. The first two in white self-wraps printed in blue. The third in yellow wrappers printed in black and grey. Illustrations from photos within the texts of the first and second pamphlets. Just a little creasing and rubbing. Excellent condition.
Rothschild, Miriam & Theresa Clay | Fleas, Flukes and Cuckoos
First edition, first impression of this classic by a leading British parasitologist.
Miriam Rothschild (1908-2005) was a member of the prominent banking family and was introduced to zoology by her father, an amateur naturalist, and her physician uncle. Though Rothschild had only a limited formal education, she was intellectually self-directed and was recommended for study at the Naples Biological Station, where she “developed a strong interest in parasitology, noting that the molluscs with which she was working were infected with flatworms” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1128). She then went to the Biological Station at Plymouth where she continued researching parasites and their hosts until her laboratory was bombed during the Second World War.
During the war Rothschild opened her childhood home to refugees and worked with Alan Turing on the Enigma project. “In addition to her active war work, she continued with her natural history investigations, cataloguing her father’s collections and studying human and animal parasites, especially fleas. She studied flea reproduction, their host preferences, and the mechanics of flea leaping. In collaboration with Nobel laureate Tadeus reichstein, she demonstrated the manner in which the monarch caterpillar’s diet of milkweed plants protects it from birds and other predators” (Ogilvie). Rothschild published more than three hundred scientific articles in addition to several successful popular works, and 2,000 of her microscope slides are now part of the Natural History Museum collections.
...A Study of Bird Parasites. With 90 Black and White Photographs, 4 Maps & 22 Drawings. London: Collins, 1952.
Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. 20 plates, illustrations within the text. Cloth very slightly faded along the edges of the boards, gilt spine titles dulled, light partial toning of the free endpapers. A very good copy in the rubbed and dulled jacket with two closed tears and associated creasing at the top of the upper panel, as well as a few other small nicks and a crease along the fold of the upper flap.
Mather, John C. & John Boslough | The Very First Light
First edition, first printing and a beautiful copy inscribed by the author on the title, “Best wishes to my longtime good friend Sy Coleman! John Mather”. The recipient may have been the Sy Coleman who founded Aspen Public Radio and died in 2020.
John C. Mather (1946 - ) is one of the most prominent astrophysicists working today. He was the recipient of the Noble Prize alongside George F. Smoot for their joint work on the cosmic background radiation using data from the COBE satellite, launched in 1989. This groundbreaking research on the energy patterns of the early universe “provided increased support for the Big Bang scenario for the origin of the Universe, as this is the only scenario that predicts the kind of cosmic microwave background radiation measured by COBE. These measurements also marked the inception of cosmology as a precise science” (Nobel Prize announcement).
The Very First Light is Smoot’s first-hand account of the COBE programme and its results, written for a popular audience. Today Smoot is the Senior Project Scientist for the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope, which can see further and in greater detail than any telescope before, promising to revolutionise the field of cosmology.
...The True Inside Story of the Scientific Journey Back to the Dawn of the Universe. [New York]: Basic Books, a division of Harper Collins, 1996.
Octavo. Original black boars, black cloth backstrip, titles to spine in silver, Harper Collins device to upper board in blind. With the dust jacket. Illustrations within the text. A fine copy in the jacket.
(Landsberg, Peter) Hawking, Stephen W. | A Brief History of Time
First edition, the corrected second printing of this landmark popular work on the quest for the Grand Unified Theory. From the library of physicist Peter Landsberg, with his ownership signature, notes and highlighting, and letter to him loosely inserted.
Peter Landsberg (1922-2010), was a German Jewish refugee to Britain who earned his PhD in quantum mechanics at Imperial College London in 1949 and joined the faculties of the Universities of Cardiff and Southampton. “Landsberg was not solely interested in one branch of physics, he was interested in physics in general and this boyish enthusiasm took his research to all areas of theoretical work”, among them the quantum phenomenon known as bose condensation, the relationship between quantum mechanics and living things, thermodynamics, cosmology, and applications of solar energy. He is best known for his explication of “Landsberg efficiency”, the theoretical limits on how much solar power can be converted to electricity in a given situation (obituary in The Scotsman, May 23, 2010).
Landsberg has made numerous short notes — often page number references — and underlined a number of passages, primarily in chapters 8: The Origin and Fate of the Universe and 9: The Arrow of Time, that deal with thermodynamics and the inflationary model of the universe. Loosely inserted is a typed letter signed to Landsberg from Canon Robert Winnett (1910-1989), to whom the book had been loaned, and who writes that it conveyed to him “a sense of the infinite mystery of the universe, and of unplumbed depths still to be explored, an attitude which is surely akin to the religious”. He goes on the discuss how scientific ideas about the origin of the universe might align with Christianity and other religions, ending with the thought that “we are dealing with probabilities rather than certainties... The origins of religion lie in dimensions of human experience other than the scientific, and any cosmological theory can be interpreted theistically, or if we will, atheistically”.
...From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Introduction by Carl Sagan. Illustrations by Ron Miller. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.
Octavo. Original black quarter cloth, dark grey boards, title to spine in silver, Hawking’s monogram to upper board in blind. With the dust jacket. Illustrations throughout the text. Binding a little rubbed and bumped. A very good copy in the rubbed and creased jacket with some bubbling of the plastic coating, especially along folds.
G. Nicolis & I. Prigogine | Self-Organization in Nonequilibrium Systems
First edition first printing. Presentation copy inscribed by Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine, and also signed by co-author Grégoire Nicolis, for fellow physicist Peter Landsberg. Books signed by either Prigogine and Nicolis are uncommon. With a small pencilled notation of Landsberg’s on page 34 also repeated with a question mark on the front free endpaper.
Ilya Prigogine (1917-2003) is today one of the most well-known figures in the field of chaos theory. Though others before him, primarily Lars Onsager, had investigated the thermodynamics of irreversible processes (such as metabolic reactions in living things, or the boiling of an egg), it was Priogione who extended our understanding of them to systems that were far from equilibrium. His most important contribution was the discovery that in these systems chaos can lead to the development of ordered structures that only exist in conjunction with their environment. These he called “dissipative structures” to differentiate them from equilibrium structures (such as crystals) that can exist as isolated systems. “The most well-known dissipative structure is perhaps the so-called Benárd instability. This is formed when a layer of liquid is heated from below. At a given temperature heat conduction starts to occur predominantly through convection, and it can be observed that regularly spaced, hexagonal convection cells are formed in the layer of liquid. This structure is wholly dependent on the supply of heat and disappears when this ceases” (Noble Prize biography). The present volume covers all aspects of this new field, from the mathematical models underpinning it, to its application in chemistry, cell biology, and even the flows of energy across whole ecosystems.
Co-author Grégoire Nicolis (1939-2018) was also a leader in this new field of complex systems in statistical mechanics. His work — frequently in collaboration with Prigione — produced important “early discoveries in chaos theory” that “constitute part of its foundations as they brought forth deep connections on nonlinear dynamics and out-of-equilibrium processes in physics and chemistry at large” (Basios, “Grégoire Nicolis of the Founders of Complexity Science, a Recollection”, Nonlinear Phenomena in Complex Systems, vol. 23, no. 2, 2020, p. 102).
The recipient of this volume, Peter Landsberg (1922-2010), was a German Jewish refugee to Britain who earned his PhD in quantum mechanics at Imperial College London in 1949 and joined the faculties of the Universities of Cardiff and Southampton. “Landsberg was not solely interested in one branch of physics, he was interested in physics in general and this boyish enthusiasm took his research to all areas of theoretical work”, which included the quantum phenomenon known as bose condensation, the relationship between quantum mechanics and living things, thermodynamics, cosmology, and applications of solar energy. He is best known for his explication of “Landsberg efficiency”, the theoretical limits on how much solar power can be converted to electricity in a given situation (obituary in The Scotsman, May 23, 2010).
...From Dissipative Structures to Order through Fluctuations. New York: a Wiley-Interscience Publication, John Wiley & Sons, 1977.
Octavo. Original blue-grey cloth, titles to spine and ISBN on lower board in metallic blue, publisher’s device to upper board in blind. With the dust jacket. Diagrams and illustrations throughout the text. Cloth slightly rubbed at the tips, two small worn spots on the edge of the upper board. A very good copy in the jacket that is creased and worn with some closed tears and small chips.
Baker, Henry | An Attempt toward a Natural History of the Polype
First edition of this uncommon and charmingly illustrated work on polyps, one of the two body plans of creatures in the phylum of the jellyfish, anemones, and corals (the other type being the medusa). This copy from the library of distinguished collector Robert J. Hayhurst, pharmacist and inheritor of John Hayhurst & Son, a successful chain of retail pharmacies.
Author Henry Baker (1698-1774) was apprenticed as a bookseller before becoming a successful teacher of deaf people. He was also a fellow of the Royal Society, “a typical natural philosopher of his time, keenly interested in the wonders of nature, as manifesting the power of the creator. From 1740 Baker's literary skills were used in prose, embodying his scientific discoveries... The book that established his name as a scientific writer was The Microscope Made Easy, which appeared in 1742, and achieved five editions in the author's lifetime, as well as translation into Dutch and French” (ODNB). His most important scientific study, for which he was awarded the Copley Medal, was a microscopical investigation of crystal structure.
“His other main microscopical research involved repeating the experiments on freshwater polyps (Hydra viridis) of Abraham Trembley. Trembley's discoveries, reported to the Royal Society in January 1743, caused a sensation, since the polyps, when cut in two, grew into two complete specimens, a plant-like property strangely combined with the animal-like ability to move and ingest worms. Baker, in association with Martin Folkes, examined the creatures with the microscope, and, with due acknowledgement to Trembley, published in November 1743 An Attempt towards a Natural History of the Polype” (ODNB).
Reference: Freeman, British Natural History Books 165
...In a Letter to Martin Folkes, Esq; President of the Royal Society... London: for R. Dodsley and sold by M. Cooper and J. Cuff, 1743.
Octavo. Recently rebound to style in olive calf by Bayntun, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label, blue speckled edges, new endpapers and blanks. Engraved frontispiece and woodcut illustrations throughout the text. Lacking the advertisements. L4 misprinted as K4. Bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst. Small paper repairs to the edge of the frontispiece and the margin of the title, not affecting the text or image, contents fresh. A very good copy.
Duncan, P. Martin | Natural History Rambles. The Sea-Shore.
A very handsome copy of this popular work that was first published in 1879. It describes and illustrates a wide variety of seashore creatures, including plants, microorganisms, jellyfish and hydrozoans, anemones, corals, worms, starfish, crabs, shellfish, birds, and bony fish.
Author Peter Martin Duncan (1824-1891) practised as a medical doctor, pursuing science as a hobby, until his appointment to a professorship in geology at King’s College. His speciality was “the corals and echinids, although he also took much interest in ophiurids, sponges, and protozoa. He adopted the viewpoint of a philosophical zoologist for this research, but also investigated the relationship between species distribution and palaeoenvironments. He described fossil coral fauna from different parts of the world and the echinids of Sind” and contributed two important papers on them (ODNB).
“Duncan's industry was unflagging. He undertook a great amount of work, of both a popular and a scientific character. He was editor of Cassell's Natural History (1876–82), to which he contributed several important articles. He wrote a Primer of Physical Geography (1882); a small volume of biographies of botanists, geologists, and zoologists entitled Heroes of Science (1882); another on The Seashore (1879); and an Abstract of the Geology of India (1875), which reached a third edition in 1881. He also assisted in preparing the third edition of Griffith and Henfrey's Micrographic Dictionary (1875), and in revising the fourth edition of Lyell's Student's Elements of Geology (1885)” in addition to authoring at least a hundred academic papers (ODNB). Duncan was a member of the Geological Society and was awarded its Wollaston Medal in 1881. He was also a Fellow of the Royal, Linnean, and Zoological Societies.
This copy was awarded as a prize for achievement in drawing at the York High School for Girls in 1895. The York high school was opened by the Girls Public Day School Company in November 1880 and operated until 1907.
London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1891.
Octavo (163 x 101 mm). Contemporary school prize binding of burgundy calf by Bickers & Son, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, double gilt fillets and school roundel to the upper board gilt, marbled endpapers and edges, turn-ins blocked in blind. Steel engravings throughout. Prize bookplate. Spine a little faded, edges and ends of spine just a little rubbed, spotting to the endpapers and lighter spotting to the title and final leaf of text. Excellent condition.
Shields, E. Floyd | Coachella Valley Desert Trails and The Romance and Sex Life of the Date
First edition of this charming tourist booklet promoting the Coachella Valley and Shields Date Gardens, the famous “home of the date shake” on Highway 111 in Indio, California.
Date agriculture was introduced to the Coachella Valley when the US Department of Agriculture set up an experimental station in the region in 1904. “In the following decades, crop production grew exponentially, from approximately 100,000 pounds in 1919 to 1 million pounds in 1926, and then by 1955 to 48 million pounds of dates” (Conrad, “From Experiment to Celebrated Product, Dates Find a Home in Coachella Valley”, The Desert Sun.) Today the valley is home to the majority of US date farms.
The Shields Date Gardens were founded by E. Floyd and Bess Shields in 1924. Floyd was a pioneering agriculturist who developed several of his own date varieties and invented products like date sugar and date crystals for use in cooking, including in the date milkshakes sold at the gardens. He was an indefatigable marketer, directing tourists to the farm shop with a giant knight in armour, the “guardian of quality”, and offering lectures on date cultivation to the public. “The lectures proved to be a popular draw, leading Shields to incorporate a slide show and recorded soundtrack into a multimedia production. The 15-minute presentation, ‘The Romance and Sex Life of the Date,’ modified only slightly over the years, is still shown today in a small theater” (Sellers, “A Date in the Desert, California Bountiful, the California Farm Bureau, March/April 2009).
This guidebook directs tourists to local sites in “the land of romance and sunshine”, including 29 Palms and Joshua Tree (created as a National Park only fifteen years previously), the Salton Sea, Palm Springs, Painted Canyon, the All American Canal, and the annual “Arabian Nights” pageant. The second half is based on ‘The Romance and Sex Life of the Date’. Well-illustrated from photographs taken on the Shields’ farm, it focuses on the difficulty of propagating, caring for, and hand-pollinating the palms, and educates consumers on the economics of date agriculture, suggesting the prices they should expect to pay for high-quality fruit.
Also advertised in the booklet are Shields’ unique products, including date sugar, butter, and crystals, with suggestions and recipes for their use. “Two-thirds grapenuts and one third Shields Date Crystals make a wonderful breakfast. Shields Date Crystals can also be used dry on any kind of cereal, salads, ice cream, etc... As an after school snack for the children Shields Date Crystals will make a delicious and healthful sandwich — suggest using graham crackers.”
Indio, CA: Shields Date Gardens, 1952.
40-page, wire-stitched pamphlet. Original buff wrappers printed in brown and orange with an image of the rising sun over a desert landscape to the upper wrapper and a cartoon of a knight pointing to the Shields farm on the lower wrapper. Illustrated throughout with photographs and maps. Partially erased price and a little light dampstain to the cover. Occasional tiny spots to contents, which are faintly toned. A clean and fresh copy in excellent condition.
Baxter, James Finney | Scientists Against Time
First edition, first printing of the Pulitzer Prize-winning account of Allied technological development during the Second World War. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Betty Way Brown, with best wishes, James P. Baxter 3rd”.
Author James F. Baxter (1893-1975) was a historian and for more than twenty years the popular president of Williams College in Massachusetts. During the Second World War he served as research coordinator of information (1941-1943) and director of the Office of Strategic Services (1942-1943), and the work for this book was undertaken during the latter part of the war while he served as the historical researcher for the Office of Scientific Research and Development. It includes chapters on submarine and air warfare, radar and LORAN, rocketry, proximity fuses, fire control technologies, new explosives and propellants, antimalarials, blood transfusion, penicillin, aviation medicine, and the Manhattan Project, among others.
...With Illustrations. An Atlantic Monthly Press Book. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946.
Octavo. Original grey cloth, titles and design to spine and upper board blocked in red and blue, top edge dyed red. Frontispiece and 33 double-sided plates from photographs, 3 illustrations within the text. Spine toned, cloth slightly rubbed, endpapers tanned, light spotting to the edges of the text block and occasionally to the contents.