1899. HANDSOMELY BOUND FIRST EDITION WITH THREE IMPORTANT PAPERS.
In the first paper, “Ernest Rutherford demonstrated that the radiation from uranium and thorium is not the same as X-rays, and consists of at least two distinct types of particles. He called the first particle “the radiation” and later in the paper “alpha radiation,” and found it to be highly effective in ionization but easily absorbed by gases. He found the other radiation (which he called “beta radiation”) to be less effective in ionization but far more penetrating” (History of Physics: The Wenner Collection).
In the second paper, Lord Rayleigh explains why the sky is blue. Rayleigh Scattering, as it is now referred to, causes the blue hue of the daytime sky and the reddening of the sun at sunset. Rayleigh discovered that “The blue color of the sky is caused by the scattering of sunlight off the molecules of the atmosphere… The strong wavelength dependence of Rayleigh’s discovery enhances the short wavelengths, thus giving us the blue sky. In other words, Rayleigh scattering is more effective at short wavelengths (the blue end of the visible spectrum). Therefore the light scattered down to the earth at a large angle with respect to the direction of the sun's light is predominantly in the blue end of the spectrum” (Nave, Hyperphysics).
In the third paper, Lord Kelvin describes the age of the earth. Beginning in 1862, Kelvin published periodic calculations fixing the age of Earth between 20 and 400 million years. His 1899 estimate “was obtained by computing the time for the earth to cool by conduction from a supposedly molten state to its present condition of low surface heat flow. Kelvin originally believed that the only major question in this method was the value of the initial temperature, the ‘initial event’ being dated… Recently the mechanism of heat transfer within the earth has been shown to be much more complex than the simple conductive type envisaged by Kelvin” (Burchfield, The Age of the Earth). While Kelvin’s methodology proved erroneous, “[his] application of thermodynamic laws to the question of the earth's age and the heated debate his ideas sparked among British Victorian physicists, astronomers, geologists, and biologists” (ibid). Item #663
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Taylor & Francis. (8.5 x 5.5 inches; 213 x 138mm). Complete. , viii, , 4. Three plates and in-text illustrations throughout. Not ex-libris. Handsomely, solidly, and tightly rebound in three quarter brown calf over marbled paper boards. Five gilt-ruled raised bands at the spine; gilt armorial devices in the compartments. Gilt-lettered red and black morocco spine labels. Red area at the head of p. 109 (Rutherford paper); otherwise bright and clean. Near fine condition.