A Speculation touching Electric Conduction and the Nature of Matter in The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 3, 1844, pp. 136-144. Michael Faraday.

A Speculation touching Electric Conduction and the Nature of Matter in The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 3, 1844, pp. 136-144.

1844. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION of "the first account of Faraday's fundamental ideas on matter and, in particular, on the nature of the space between its constituent particles" Science in the Making, 1798-1850, p. 214). Here Faraday develops the hypothesis that atoms are not matter having a finite dimension, but instead are 'centers of force' and that the force from each atom extends outward, filling all of space. "That such space exists is deduced from the fact that atoms 'though grouped and held together by their powers, do not touch each other, otherwise pressure or cold could not make a body contract into a smaller bulk'. He then poses the questions, 'if space be a conductor how then can shell-lac, sulphur etc. insulate? for space permeates them in every direction. Or if space be an insulator, how can a metal or other similar body conduct'. Faraday's answer to this problem is to remove the distinction between the nuclei of matter and the powers of forces surrounding them. He considers the disposition in space of these forces (not necessarily spherical, although emanating from a centre) and their extent (throughout 'all space to which gravitation extends, including the sun and its system'). As to the nuclei -- the centres of the forces -- he dismisses them as being inconsequential. Why, he asks, 'assume the existence of that of which we are ignorant, which we cannot conceive, and for which there is no philosophical necessity?'. To Faraday, therefore, matter was to be identified and its properties explained in terms of point centres surrounded by forces... Rather than being associated with the nucleus of the centre of force, Faraday regards it as permeating the whole region of influence of the force itself. Viewed in this way, his ideas could be interpreted as providing a foretaste of particle-wave duality as developed in the following century. This is most clearly seen by his explanation of the chemical interaction between atoms in which he uses the analogy of 'the conjunction of sea waves of different velocities into one, their perfect union for a time and (their) final separation into the constituent waves'" (ibid). Item #401

CONDITION & DETAILS: (8.5 x 5.5 inches; 213 x 138mm). [viii], 552, [2], 4. Faraday paper: pp. 136-144. Ex-libris bearing only a small paper label at the spine and a discreet stamp on the title page. Bound in three quarter polished black calf over marbled paper boards. GIlt-ruled and lettered at the spine. Minor rubbing and scuffing; tightly and solidly bound. Slight age toning and foxing. Very good condition.

Price: $475.00