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    First Edition of Madame Curie's Treatise on Radioactivity

    Madame P. [Marie] Curie. Traité de radioactivité. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1910.
    First edition of text, second state of wrappers (the advertisements on the rear wrapper of Volume I refer to works dated 1912, 1919, 1914, and 1916). Two large octavo volumes (9.875 x 6.5 inches; 252 x 165 mm.). XIII, [1, blank], 426, [2, blank]; [4], 548 pages. Heliogravure portrait of her husband Pierre Curie by Dujardin, printed by C. Wittmann, on India paper mounted, in Volume I; seven plates (six photographic); numerous illustrations and diagrams in the text. Uncut, in the original tan wrappers printed in black. Some browning and soiling or smudging. Wrappers with chipping to the edges; spines with vertical cracks repaired; additional short splits at joints. A very good copy of this fragile work.
    Bookplate inside front wrapper: Ex libris Samuel O. Hoffman; embossed stamp in several places: From the library of Samuel O. Hoffman, San Francisco, California. Front blank with blue ink stamp: "Majoration 20%" and pencilled Library of Congress call number at lower edge.
    Honeyman II, 789; Milestones of Science 41.

    More Information:

    "One of the most important books of science written in the twentieth century, this is Madame Curie's principal writing on her discoveries in radioactivity" (


    "The word 'radioactivity' was suggested by Marie Sklodowska Curie, the Polish chemist and physicist. At Becquerel's suggestion Madame Curie and her husband, Pierre, French physicist and chemist, began to work on the properties of uranium and thorium. They found pitchblende to be four times as radioactive as uranium. Further investigation showed another element, radium, to be a million times as radioactive as uranium. After the early death of her husband, Marie Curie continued research in radioactivity. In 1910, she isolated radium in a pure state. Her classic Traité de radioactivité (1910) is an account of her work through collected papers" (Milestones of Science).

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