Leipzig: Englemann, 1867. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ACCOUNT OF WHAT BECAME KNOWN AS CHROMOSOMES. “Friederich Wilhelm Benedikt Hofmeister (1824 1877) stands as one of the true giants in the history of biology and belongs in the same pantheon as Darwin and Mendel. Yet by comparison, he is virtually unknown” (Kaplan & Cooke, The genius of Wilhelm Hofmeister: the origin of causal analytical research in plant development, American Journal of Botany, 83, 12, December 1996, 1647). Hofmeister was a German botanist whose investigations of plant biology were groundbreaking and well ahead of his time. This volume was never translated into English.
Hofmeister’s volume is about plant cells and morphology and describes the fundamental structures and processes of the cell with a particular focus on the cell wall. He offers detailed descriptions and illustrations of his microscopic studies of plant cell structure, inclusive of internal organization. His work helped inspire Gregor Mendel to begin the his research on plant hybridization that ultimately led to Mendel’s discoveries on the inheritance of traits – thus beginning the science of genetics.
This work “was original in stressing the functional aspects of cytology. It aimed at explaining phenomena such as the colloidal properties of the protoplasm and imbibition properties of the cell wall in terms of physical science. The cellular organization of the plant body is recognized as yielding ‘the greatest possible strength with the least possible mass’” (Dictionary of Scientific Biography, VI). Item #1480
CONDITION & DETAILS: Leipzig: Englemann. (9.25 x 6.25 inches; 234 x 158mm). 231 58 in-text illustrations. Tightly bound in half calf moderately rubbed and scuffed. Gilt-ruled and lettered at the spine. Ghosting from the removal of a label. Small oval stamp on title page. Some toning to the preliminaries, otherwise clean throughout. Very good.