Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Electricity and the Electric Telegraph. [In two volumes]. By George B. Prescott

New York: Appleton and Company, 1885, 1888. Later printings. Cloth. Very good/none as issued. Mixed set with continuous pagination in publishers original brown cloth. In 2 volumes. Vol. I: xii, [5] -602, [i]-iii, [3] pages. Vol. 2: viii, [603] -1120, [9-tables] , [I-blank], [i]-ii pages . 8vo. Original brown publisher’s cloth with uniform spine designs but different decorations in blind. With several old institutional stamps on the title page and the Dibner Institute stamp on the front pastedown endpapers (properly withdrawn). Wear and bumping to the corners. Wear to head and tail of both spines. Binding sound with one signature a bit proud in volume 1. Both volumes are copyrighted 1884, but Vol. l (a gift of Bern Dibner) is the 7th edition dated 1888 and Vol. 2 (a gift of IBM) is the sixth edition dated 1885. Ad for Prescott’s latest works in back matter, including “Bell’s Electric Speaking Telephone.” Very Good.

See Sterling and Shiers History of Telecommunications Technology, An Annotated Bibliography, **6-059 (which notes the 1877, 1881, and 1885 editions) . Wheeler Gift Catalogue, I, 2045 (referencing 1877 first edition) “Comprehensive, descriptive treatise,” Cyclopaedia of American Biography V/108. A continuation of Prescott’s well regarded “History, Theory, and Practice of the Electric Telegraph” (first published in 1860, and with several editions through 1866). “Electricity and the Electric Telegraph spends “the first 280 pages or so on electricity in general, while the rest focuses on the telegraph.” It went through many editions, with 1877 being the first. George Bartlett Prescott was well positioned to write such a book. He was a manager of telegraph offices from 1847-1858, then Superintendent of the American and in 1866 of the Western Union telegraph companies’ lines, and in 1869 electrician of the Western Union telegraph company. He was also electrician of the International Ocean Telegraph Company from 1873 to 1880, and later travelled overseas to review the technologies being used there. He later rose to executive and board positions in several companies including the Bell telephone company of Philadelphia. He also had several related patents, and wrote numerous articles for the technical press as well as several books.” — Kuenzig Books

 Serious Questions. An ABC of Skeptical Reflections by Erwin Chargaff
Condition: Fine/fine
Boston: Birkhäuser, 1986. First Edition, First Printing. Cloth. Fine/fine. A fine first edition, first printing in a fine dust jacket. As new. Dust jacket now protected in a clear, removable, archival cover. viii, 261 pp. Octavo, 5 3/4 x 8 1/2 inches tall.

Erwin Chargaff (11 August 1905 – 20 June 2002) was an Austro-Hungarian biochemist that immigrated to the United States during the Nazi era and was a professor of biochemistry at Columbia University medical school. Through careful experimentation, Chargaff discovered two rules that helped lead to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. The first rule was that in DNA the number of guanine units is equal to the number of cytosine units, and the number of adenine units is equal to the number of thymine units. This hinted at the base pair makeup of DNA. The second rule was that the relative amounts of guanine, cytosine, adenine and thymine bases vary from one species to another. This hinted that DNA rather than protein could be the genetic material. — wikipedia

Following the Trail of Light: A Scientific Odyssey [Profiles, Pathways, and Dreams: Autobiographies of eminent chemists]. By Melvin Calvin
Washington DC: American Chemical Society, 1992. First Edition. Leatherette. Fine/none.

A fine first edition of Calvin’s autobiography with no dust jacket. Blue leatherette boards with silver and gold foil stamping on cover and spine. Binding is sturdy, square and tight. Text clean and bright. Title page and copyright page dates match. Appears unread. Illustrated with b/w photos. xxiii, 175 [1] pp. including index. Octavo, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches tall. ‘On September 2, 1945, … Ernest Lawrence, Director of UC Berkeley’s Radiation Laboratory, suggested to chemistry professor and “Rad Lab” researcher Melvin Calvin that “now is the time to do something useful with radioactive carbon.” That nudge eventually led Calvin to uncover the secrets of how plants capture energy from the sun. The research earned Calvin the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his research on the carbon dioxide assimilation in plants”.’By the 1930s, scientists were aware that plants took in carbon dioxide and water and released oxygen. That decade, radioactive isotopes were first used as “tags” to trace organic molecules through chemical processes. However, the first radioisotope tracers decayed too quickly to make it through the full photosynthesis reaction. Using the newly-discovered Carbon 14 as a tracer though, Calvin and his colleagues followed the entire path of carbon through photosynthesis. From the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide to its sunlight-fueled conversion via chlorophyll into carbohydrates and other compounds, the researchers shed light on the whole photosynthesis question. That work eventually sparked the US Department of Energy’s research into solar energy as a renewable power source. “If you know how to make chemical or electrical energy out of solar energy the way plants do it – without going through a heat engine – that is certainly a trick,” Calvin once said. “And I’m sure we can do it. It’s just a question of how long it will take to solve the technical question.” — US DOE Web site

Man Unfolding (World Perspectives. Volume 46). By Jonas Salk

New York: Harper & Row, 1972. First Edition, First Printing. Cloth. Near fine/very good +. A very near fine, signed, stated first edition with complete number line on verso of colophon. In a very good original dust jacket. Grey cloth boards with white and red title stamping. Top edge red. Affectionately inscribed to a friend and colleague on the first free endpaper. Minor foxing to FFE, otherwise fine. Dust jacket has a short, 1 inch closed tear on rear edge at the base of spine cover and tiny 1/32 inch closed tear on rear at top edge of jacket Also shows an offset toning on rear jacket cover. xix, 118 [1] pp. Duodecimo, 5 3/4 x 8 1/2 inches tall.

KIRKUS REVIEW Essentially Jonas Salk’s plea — “to look at human life from a biological viewpoint” — is the same as that of biologist Garrett Hardin (Exploring New Ethics for Survival, p. 561). Both urge a new “theoretical-experimental” approach to the social, psychological and moral problems of mankind to replace the age-old speculative-philosophical idealizations. But whereas Hardin makes his case with a brilliant science fiction parable, Salk proceeds via a series of laborious, strained but ultimately simplistic analogies between biological and social systems, genetic and psychological survival mechanisms, individual and phylogenetic “choices.” Thus, for example, Salk argues that the body’s immunological system, which protects the organism against being overwhelmed by disease, sometimes runs amok and works against the organism, and that its counterpart in psychology, the “defense mechanisms” can also become self-consuming and destructive. “The products of man’s imagination and undisciplined appetite may have a boomerang effect which in due time may well overpower him.” Herein lies the danger — and the hope. Human development must proceed via challenge and response in a dynamic relationship with the environment. And so forth and so on: “learning,” “tolerance,” “rejection” and “conditioning” are both social and somatic verities; deprivation or overabundance are bad for both physical and moral development; there is both “biological” and “human” purpose to life. …

Of molecules and men. [John Danz lectures]. By Francis Crick

Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1966. First Edition, First Printing. Cloth. Near fine/fine. A near fine first edition, first printing of a classic work from a Nobel prizewinner. In an about fine dust jacket. Grey buckram boards. Binding is sturdy, square and tight. Some foxing to top edge only. Previous owner’s name neatly stamped on first free endpaper. Text clean and bright. Dust jacket showing shelfwear at head of spine cover, otherwise fine. Dust jacket now protected in a clear, removable, archival cover. xv, 99 [1] pp. Duodecimo, 5 1/ x 8 1/4 inches tall.

There is probably no one who has a deeper understanding of life’s biochemical basis than Sir Francis Crick. In 1962, he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, along with J. D. Watson and M. H. F. Wilkins, for breakthrough studies on the molecular structure of DNA. Just four years later he published this collection of popular lectures in which he explained the importance of this discovery in layperson’s terms and emphasized its wide-reaching implications. Though written forty years ago, this succinct, lucid explication of the scientific facts remains the perfect primer for the lay reader curious about the ongoing biological revolution and is amazingly prescient in light of recent developments. Beginning with a critique of “vitalism,” the notion that an intangible life force beyond the grasp of biology distinguishes living organisms from inanimate things, Crick argues that in all likelihood the complex mechanisms of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis fully explain the phenomenon of life. While admitting that many details are uncertain and much remains unknown about the origins of life, he nonetheless maintains that chance mutations over time, in conjunction with the law of natural selection, offer the most rational explanation of the evolution of life on earth from inorganic precursors. Although few speak of vitalism today, the controversy that Crick addresses is still with us in the form of intelligent design, which suggests that biochemistry and evolution alone do not sufficiently explain the uniqueness of life. In his second lecture Crick explores the borderline between the organic and inorganic, presenting an elegantly clear description of DNA’s basic structure and function in relation to RNA and myriad enzymes. In the final lecture, “The Prospect Before Us,” he anticipates events and trends that have in fact come to pass in the past four decades: the increasing use of computer technology and robotics in mind-brain research, explorations into right-side vs. left-side uses of the brain, controversies surrounding the existence of the soul, the dead end of ESP investigations, and above all the daunting challenges of explaining consciousness in completely scientific terms. Of Molecules and Men is a fascinating, still-very-relevant discussion of many crucially important issues in life science.” — Goodreads

Comets to Cosmology: Proceedings of the Third IRAS Conference, Held at Queen Mary College, University of London, July 6-10, 1987 [Lecture Notes in Physics 297]
By Andrew Lawrence, ed.

Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1986. First Edition, First Printing. Cloth. Near fine/none as issued. About fine, first edition, first printing. Brown, mustard and white cloth boards. Binding is sturdy, square and tight. Previous owner’s name stamped neatly on top edge, otherwise as new. No dust jacket as issued. Illustrated with formulas, b/w photos, graphs, and drawings. x, 415 [2] pp. Octavo, 6 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches tall. These proceedings are concerned with discoveries from the Infra-Red Astronomical Satellite IRAS including follow-up projects in theoretical and observational astronomy. In particular, they stress the solar system results from IRAS. A huge range of astronomical topics is addressed including asteroids, comets, dust in the solar neighbourhood, young stars, old stars, the interstellar medium, and the Galactic cosmic background at various wavelengths.. —

Edition: Fourth Edition; First thus. Book condition: Good +. Quantity available: 1

New York: Marine Engineering, 1917. Fourth Edition; First thus. Cloth. Good +. A good plus, World War I era, first edition thus. Green cloth boards with embossed cover. Gilt stamped title on spine. Rear board softened and damaged over 10% of back cover. Corner bumped and another rubbed. Front pastedown shows removal of bookplate. Department of the Navy embossed seal on title page. Fold-outs intact. Binding is sound. Heavily illustrated with black and white photos, drawings, charts and graphs. 982 pp. including index. Octavo, 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches tall.


Surveyor 3 & 2 Navy Training Courses NAVPERS 10632

Bureau of Naval Personnel

Edition: First Thus. Book condition: Very good.

U. S. Department of the navy, 1949. First Thus. Staplebound wraps. Very good/very good +. An original, very good, 1949 Navy training course in surveying, first edition thus. Softcover, staple bound wraps. Cover faded and dust soiled. “For official use only” and US Navy insignia on front cover. Edges evenly soiled from handling. Pencil marginalia to title page. Offset toning from staples (original binding). All fold-outs and pocket maps and charts intact and near fine. No other markings, no torn pages. Binding is sturdy, square and sound. Black and white maps, charts, photos, and graphs. 397 pp. with index. Duodecimo, 5 x 7 3/4 inches tall.


Edition: Second Printing. Book condition: Near fine

Geneva: World Health Organization, 1969. Second Printing. Cloth. Near fine/very good +. A near fine second printing in a very good dust jacket. Beige cloth boards with red title stamping. Previous owner’s inscription on first free endpaper. Interior clean and bright. Binding sturdy and square. Fold-outs pristine. Dust jacket has small tears and some soil. Previous owner’s name inscribed on dust jacket. Dust jacket now protected in a clear, removable, archival cover. 392 pp. including index. Octavo, 6 1/2 x 10 inches tall.


Oscar Lewis. The Big Four: The Story of Huntington, Stanford, Hopkins, and Crocker, and of the Building of the Central Pacific. Plates, portraits, facsimiles.

Edition: 5th printing [1938]. Book condition: Fine

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1938. First edition/Fifth printing [1938]. A fine copy in bright blue boards with gilt stamping, owners name on inside board, small 1″ sq. label from Levinson’s bookstore on inside rear board. In a fair but original dust jacket: large tears were repaired on the jacket with scotch tape long ago. This is an early printing from December 1938, (not a 1st printing, which would have been August 8, 1938). “Part of this book appeared in the Atlantic monthly under the title, Men against mountains.” 418 pp. plus index. 6.5″x9.5″ tall.

Railroad, financial, and California history. Hardcover.


Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake of 1964 and aftershocks edited by Fergus J. Wood.

Edition: First edition. Book condition: Near Fine.

Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1966. First edition. Hardcover. Near Fine.

Near fine hardcover first edition, complete: volumes I-III in four parts. Blue cloth boards, gilt stamping. Map and photo endpapers. Mild dust soiling to edges, otherwise near fine. Profusely illustrated from photographs, maps and charts including 8 folded maps in rear pocket of Vol I, a folded map and pristine 33 1/3 rpm small vinyl recording of the earthquake in rear pocket of Vol II, A. 263, 392, 350, and 155 pp., respectively. Small quarto, 9 x 11 1/2 inches tall.

Volume I: Operational Phases of the Coast & Geodetic Survey… including an account of Seismicity and Brief history of the coast and geodetic survey in this area. Volume II: (A) Research Studies: Seismology and marine geology, Engineering Seismology, (B) Seismology (C) Marine Geology. Vol III: Research Studies and interpretive results (A) Geodosy) (B) Photogrammetry.



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