Traité d’Optique sur la Gradation de la Lumiere: Ouvrage posthume…publié par M. l’Abbé de la Caille…. Pierre BOUGUER.

“Goes Far Beyond the Essai”

Traité d’Optique sur la Gradation de la Lumiere: Ouvrage posthume…publié par M. l’Abbé de la Caille…

Seven folding engraved plates. xviii, [2], 368 pp. Large 4to, cont. polished mottled calf (upper joint with a very slight & short crack at head), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Paris: H.L. Guerin & L.F. Delatour, 1760.

First edition of this uncommon work on the measurement of light by Bouguer (1698-1758), the father of photometry. “Just before he died, Bouguer completed a much larger book on photometry, the Traité d’optique sur la gradation de la lumiere, published posthumously (1760) by his friend the Abbé Nicolas Louis de la Caille. The Traité goes far beyond the Essai, describing a number of ingenious kinds of photometers, including a method of goniophotometry, and even attempting an elaborate theory of the reflection of light from rough surfaces, although this was not successful. The third and last part of the book, however, gives a valid elementary theory of the horizontal visual range through an obscuring atmosphere, arriving at a law, usually credited to H. Koschmieder, considered to belong to the twentieth century. It is fair to consider Pierre Bouguer not only the inventor of the photometer but also the founder of an important branch of atmospheric optics. The eighteenth century is not an outstanding epoch in the history of optics, but Bouguer’s contribution to that science is notable by any standard.”–D.S.B., II, pp. 343-44.

Fine and attractive copy.

Price: $4,500.00

Item ID: 5947

See all items in Instruments, Optics, Physics, Science
See all items by