Thomsen, Julius


  • First English language edition, first printing. Julius Thomsen (1826-1909) was a founder of thermochemistry and an early supporter of the principle of conservation of energy. His most significant work, carried out between 1851 and 1885, was in determining the amount of heat released or absorbed during a huge number of chemical reactions and interpreting his results in an effort to understand "the real nature of chemical processes" (preface). "In 1851, when Julius Thomsen began his career in thermochemistry, the concept of chemical affinity had been in the centre of chemical enquiry for more than a century. In spite of many suggestions, preferably to explain affinity in terms of electrical or gravitational forces, almost nothing was known about the cause and nature of affinity. In this state of puzzling uncertainty some chemists felt it more advantageous to establish an adequate experimental measure of affinity, whatever its nature was. One way of providing affinity with a quantitative description was by means of the heats evolved in chemical processes" (Kragh, Julius Thomsen and Classical Thermochemistry, BJHS Nov 1984). The extensive body of knowledge produced by Thomsen was first published in four volumes between 1882 and 1886, under the title Thermochemische Untersuchungen. The present edition is the first in English, edited by Thomsen himself to focus on the numerical and theoretical results, "without devoting much space to the experimental details" in order to shorten the text and make the theoretical portions more accessible (preface).
  • New York, Bombay, and Calcutta: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908. Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine and upper board in black. Spine a little faded with a faint spot at the translator's name, some spotting to top edge of contents. An excellent, fresh copy, uncommon in such nice condition.

Collections: Chemistry & Physics

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