Ferrel’s papers “gave me at once the strong conviction that a successful attack had at last been made on the complex mechanics of the atmosphere, and that ultimately all would be unraveled... I have often said that that [Ferrel’s] memoir is to meteorology what the ‘Principia’ was to astronomy." –American meteorologist Cleveland Abbe
EXTREMELY RARE FIRST PRINTINGS IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF ALL EIGHTS PARTS OF “THE FIRST MATHEMATICAL FORMULATION OF ATMOSPHERIC MOTIONS ON A ROTATING EARTH”; THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE THEORY OF THE ATMOSPHERE.
“The most outstanding of Ferrel’s many achievements was the formulation of the equations of motion for a body moving on a rotating earth. On them, he built a mathematical model of the general circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, as well as of cyclones, perfecting and revising his scheme during the course of the years. His work was the first great contribution to the field of geophysical hydrodynamics after Laplace. Ferrel’s work, begun in the 1850’s when he was still a school teacher in Nashville, Tennessee, became generally so well known during the 1870’s that he enjoyed a position of high respect among meteorologists and deeply influenced the course of American meteorology. For several decades his position on any meteorological theory set the tone for most of his American colleagues...
“Largely self-taught, the books that determined Ferrel’s scientific outlook and inspired him to write his first scientific papers were Newton’s Principia and Laplace’s Méchanique Céleste. Whereas Baconian scientists took Newton’s famous statement ‘I feign no hypothesis‘ as an endorsement of empiricism and classification of observations, Ferrel, after intimate study of the Principia, obviously transcended this simple interpretation in his demand for mathematical demonstration; further study of Laplace’s work could only have deepened his appreciation of mathematics as the language of science. He turned to meteorological problems not on his own accord, but when pressed to write a review of Captain Maury’s famous book [The Physical Geography of the Sea]. Ferrel refrained from openly criticizing Maury’s explanation of the general circulation of the atmosphere; instead, he developed his own ideas first in a qualitative discussion (‘Winds and currents of the ocean’) in 1856 and then in mathematical form in 1859/60 (‘Motions of fluids and solids relative to the earth’s surface’)...
“Ferrel’s investigations, which represent the first mathematical formulation of atmospheric motions on a rotating earth, received widespread recognition only during the 1870’s, almost two decades after his first publication on the subject...” (Gisela Kutzbach, The Thermal Theory of Cyclones: A History of Meteorological Thought in the Nineteenth Century). Lead quote by Cleveland Abbe from Storm Watchers: The Turbulent History of Weather Prediction from Franklin's Kite to El Nino by John D. Cox.
Complete in eight individual journal issues in original wrappers. Extremely rare: Ferrel’s landmark paper was first published in the somewhat obscure and short-lived Runkle’s Mathematical Monthy (published for only three years, 1859-1861). We are unable to locate any other copy in the original wrappers that has been on the market.
WITH: A later (1861), shorter, non-technical summary of the essay published in The American Journal of Science, in original wrappers.
“The Motions of Fluids and Solids relative to the Earth's Surface” by William Ferrel (Runkle’s Mathematical Monthly 1 No. 4 pp. 140-148, No. 6 pp. 210-216, No. 9 pp. 300-307, No. 11 pp. 366-373 and No. 12 pp. 397-406, 1859; and Runkle’s Mathematical Monthly 2 No. 3 pp. 89-97, No. 10 pp. 339-346 and No. 11 374-390, 1860). Cambridge: John Bartlett / London: Trübner and Co., 1859-1860. Quarto, original wrappers rebacked. Some soiling to wrappers; text clean. WITH: “The Motions of Fluids and Solids relative to the Earth's Surface” by William Ferrel (The American Journal of Science and Arts 31 no. 91 pp. 27-51, January 1861). New Haven: Editors (printed by E. Hayes), 1861. Octavo, original wrappers. General light wear, near-fine. Housed together in handsome custom box with individually-labeled separators.
A VERY RARE SURVIVAL IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF ONE OF THE FOUNDATIONAL DOCUMENTS OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE.
Price: $18,000 .