Lettre sur la Cométe. Pierre Louis Moreau de MAUPERTUIS.

Lettre sur la Cométe.

Engraved frontis. & woodcut device on title. 5 p.l. (incl. frontis.), 111 pp. 12mo, cont. mottled calf (joints repaired & a bit worn), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece. [Paris]: 1742.

First edition. The book was written in response to the Marquise du Châtelet’s request to further her studies in the sciences and Newtonian philosophy.

Maupertuis “devoted most of the book to a clear summary of the current state of knowledge about comets, including an overview of the dynamics of the Newtonian solar system and Halley’s heroic calculations of cometary orbits. It evolved into a set piece on the analytical power of Newtonian cosmology. Along the way, the extremely elliptical orbits of comets undermined any cosmology built on swirling vortices carrying planets around the sun...Maupertuis’s choice of style and genre for his discussion of comets once again enabled him to make a splash on the literary science.”–Terrall, The Man Who Flattened the Earth. Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment, pp. 193-95.

Very good copy.

Price: $1,950.00

Item ID: 6415

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