First Edition of The Works of Archimedes; Finely bound

  • The Works of Archimedes.
  • The Works of Archimedes.

The Works of Archimedes.


Item Number: 68002

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1897.

First edition of the works of Archimedes. Octavo, bound in three quarters burgundy morocco, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, raised bands, gilt topstain, marbled endpapers, gilt insignia of the Eton College coat of arms on the front and rear panels. A bookplate indicating that the book is a gift to T. F. Halfords Fremantle from E. Lyttleton, Master of Eton College, dated 1914. Apparently a graduation prize. Fremantle was killed in the Great War in 1915, age 18. Edited in Modern Notation with Introductory Chapters by T. L. Heath.

"Together with Newton and Gauss, Archimedes is generally regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever known, and if his influence had not been overshadowed at first by Aristotle, Euclid and Plato, the progress of modern mathematics might have been much faster. As it was, his influence began to take full effect only after the publication of this first printed edition which enabled Descartes, Galileo and Newton in particular to build on what he had begun" (Printing and the Mind of Man). He anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the surface area and volume of a sphere, and the area under a parabola. Other mathematical achievements include deriving an accurate approximation of pi, defining and investigating the spiral bearing his name, and creating a system using exponentiation for expressing very large numbers. He was also one of the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, founding hydrostatics and statics, including an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, such as his screw pump, compound pulleys, and defensive war machines to protect his native Syracuse from invasion.

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