The result of the Michelson-Morley experiment “had revolutionary implications which led directly through Lorentz and Einstein to the acceptance of new standards of time and space from geometry and cosmometry” (Dibner, Heralds of Science 161).
RARE FIRST PRINTINGS, IN STUNNING CUSTOM BINDINGS, of the account and description of the famous Michelson-Morley experiment, casting doubt on many of the fundamental assumptions of classical physics and leading to the startling and transforming conclusion that the speed of light is a fundamental constant independent of a frame of reference. With additional related papers.
First performed in Berlin by Michelson in 1881 and later refined in collaboration with Morley in 1887, the Michelson-Morley experiment, as it came to be known, was designed "to determine the speed of the earth through the ether by measuring the relative speed of electromagnetic waves traveling in different directions." To perform their experiment, they built extremely sensitive and accurate equipment, in particular, the Michelson interferometer (on the strength of which Michelson was awarded the 1907 Noble Prize in Physics), "a sensitive optical device that compares the optical path lengths for light moving in two mutually perpendicular directions. It was reasoned that, if the speed of light were constant with respect to the proposed ether through which the Earth was moving, that motion could be detected by comparing the speed of light in the direction of the Earth's motion and the speed of light at right angles to the Earth's motion. No difference was found. This null result seriously discredited the ether theories and ultimately led to the proposal by Albert Einstein in 1905 that the speed of light is a universal constant... It was perhaps the most significant negative experiment in the history of science." (Lightman, Great Ideas in Physics; Britannica).
In: The American Journal of Science, third Series (1887), no.203, pp.333-345. New Haven, 1887. Note: This printing of the American scientists' famous paper in the American Journal of Science preceded by several weeks the London printing in the Philosophical Magazine.
WITH: MICHELSON; MORLEY. Influence of Motion on the Medium on the Velocity of Light. A preliminary work contributing to the famous experiment by demonstrating that the motion of light through a material medium is affected by the motion of the medium.
American Journal of Science, no.185, pp.377-386. New Haven, 1886. Octavo, both volumes bound in stunning blue and dark blue morocco tooled in gilt and blind, by Johanna Rojgard (2002), depicting diagrams of the experiments; housed in a folding cloth box. A hint of browning to page edges of 1886 volume, otherwise fine. Exquisitely bound. Rare.
WITH: Influence of Motion on the Medium on the Velocity of Light (another copy), in original wrappers and folding case.
WITH: On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Aether. Rare printing in original wrappers of the Abstract for the famous paper; in the November, 1887, issue of "The Sidereal Messenger".
A MAGNIFICENT COLLECTION DOCUMENTING ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EXPERIMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF PHYSICS.
Price: $12,500 .