London: Taylor and Francis. FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST PUBLISHED DESCRIPTION OF BOYS’ INTEGRAPH, AN ANALOG COMPUTING DEVICE THAT MECHANICALLY PLOTTED THE INTEGRAL OF A GRAPHICALLY DEFINED FUNCTION.
Sir Charles Vernon Boys (1855-1944) was an innovative, fastidious, British physicist and inventor who received many honors and awards. A noteworthy development in the history of calculating instruments, Boys elaborated and extended the idea of a planimeter, a simpler and earlier instrument used to measure area. While still a student, Boys designed an integraph, a mechanical instrument capable of drawing the antiderivative of a given mathematical function. Boys’ instrument drew “an ‘integral curve’ when a pointer [was] passed round the periphery of a figure whose area is required” – meaning it could graphically solve simple differential equations (Cajori, History of Mathematics, 486). The paper offered here contains Boys' first published description of his invention. In the 17th century, Leibniz described the idea of an integraph, as did Coriolis in 1836. At approximately the same time as Boys, Abdank-Abakanowicz, a Polish-Lithuanian mathematician and electrical engineer also developed a design for an integraph.
Boys was highly respected and throughout his career received many honors, among them, fellowship of the Royal Society, the Royal Medal, the Rumford Medal, the Cresson Medal of the Franklin Institute, and an election to the New York Academy of Sciences. ALSO INCLUDED: G.J. Stoney, On the Physical Units of Nature, pp. 381-91. Item #1395
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Taylor & Francis. (8.5 x 5.5 inches; 213 x 138mm). One very small stamp at the margin of one page; no other markings whatsoever. Complete. , viii, , 4. Eleven plates and in-text illustrations throughout. Handsomely rebound in period style three quarter brown calf over marbled paper boards. Gilt-ruled and raised bands at the spine. Gilt-lettered red and black morocco spine labels. Slight toning to the preliminaries, otherwise bright and very clean throughout. Fine condition.