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    [Pierre] Bouguer. Traité d'Optique sur la Gradation de la Lumiere... Paris: 1760. First edition. Very good.


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    [Pierre] Bouguer. Traité d'Optique sur la Gradation de la Lumiere... Paris: Guerin & Delatour, 1760. First edition of this important book on light intensity. Very good.

    Small quarto. Xviii, 368 pages. With eight folding plates. Full contemporary mottled calf. Rebacked, preserving the original spine. Spine is tooled in gilt in compartments, five raised bands, burgundy gilt morocco lettering label. Some rubbing to binding, corners repaired or restored, some offsetting to blanks from endleaves, text with some occasional foxing. Very good.

    Bouguer is regarded as the founder of photometry, the branch of optics concerned with measuring the intensity of light. His two most important contributions to the subject are contained in the Essai, the first part of which states his method of comparing the relative brightness of two lights by using the eye as a null indicator (i.e. to establish the equality of brightness of two adjunct surfaces) and applying the law of inverse squares. The second part contains the first statement of what is often called Bourguer's law: that in a medium of uniform transparency, the light remaining in a collimated beam is an exponential function of the length of its path in the medium." [Norman Cat.] Just before he died, Bouguer completed a much larger book on photometry, the "Traite d'optique sur la gradation de la lumiere," published posthumously (1760) by his friend the Abbe Nicolas Louis de la Caille. The Traite 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., 11, pp. 343-44).

    Norman 286. Poggendorf 1: 254.



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    6th Wednesday
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