Light Fantastic: sold Newton and Galileo books about light show collectors the way


2015-06-26 12:10:29


Light Fantastic: sold Newton and Galileo books about light show collectors the way

The most valuable works in collector Edward Tufte's sale included those marking scientific breakthroughs

Christie's sale of the great collection of Edward Tufte held one fantastic piece related so what science can achieve in the form of the Salyut 6 mission chart which demonstrated with great clarity how the cosmonauts' mission went.

However, the greatest strength of the collection was in groundbreaking works of science as laws, facts and theories alone.

One of the greatest works of science by arguably the greatest scientist of all time is Isaac Newton's Opticks (a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light).

"My design in this book is not to explain the properties of light by hypotheses, but to propose and prove them by reason and experiments" notes Newton, grandly, and he backs this claim up in exemplary fashion. The work is certainly an excellentinvestment.

The first edition has the title printed in red and black and the work includes 19 engraved folding plates with woodcut diagrams and letterpress tables in the text. Tufte's copy has suffered some dampstaining but is otherwise in good condition, and doubled its lower estimate of $30,000 to achieve $60,000.

Extract from Galileo's Starry MessengerExtract from Galileo's Starry Messenger

A first edition of Galileo Galilei's 1610 work Sidereus Nuncius Magna, Longeque Admirabilia Spectacula Pandens (The Starry Messenger), which is the foundation work of modern astronomy, containing the first account of astronomical discoveries made with the telescope.

"In late 1609, Galileo constructed a telescope and soon 'made more discoveries that changed the world than anyone has ever made before or since'" as expert Noel Swerdlow put it.

The work sold as expected for $662,500. Scientific bibliophiles may be interested to know that a sharp letter from a more modern great scientist, Albert Einstein, is currently available away from the sale.

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