Bruxelles: Hayez, 1901. Item #1085
132 pp., 9 plates. 23.5x16.1 cm. Contemporary owner’s half-leather binding with gilt lettering on the spine. Near fine. Minor tear at the hinge of the spine. Ex Libris on the verso of the front board Gösta Mittag-Leffler (1846-1927), a Swedish mathematician and a member of the Nobel Prize Committee.
Extremely rare first edition. THE FIRST SEPARATE EDITION OF LOBACHEVSKY’S MOST COMPREHENSIVE WORK ON NON-EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY IN FRENCH.
One of the brightest minds of the Russian scientific world Nikolay Lobachevsky (1792-1856) primarily went down in history as the inventor of non-Euclidean geometry or Lobachevsky’s geometry.
After multiple unsuccessful attempts to demonstrate Euclid’s fifth postulate (“For any given line and point not on the line, there is only one line through the point not intersecting the given line”), Lobachevsky’s research culminated in the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry (“An infinity of parallels can be drawn through a given point that never intersects a straight line”) in 1826. Nikolay’s fundamental paper was read to his colleagues in the Kazan University the same year, however it was not until 1829-1830 that the groundbreaking critic was published in the small university paper under the title O nachalakh geometrii [i.e. On the Principles of Geometry]. In an effort to amplify his research, the author revised part of his 1829/1830 work and wrote a new, more comprehensive version, entitled Novyye nachala geometrii s polnoy teoriyey parallel’nykh [i.e. New Principles of Geometry with a Complete Theory of Parallels] in 1835. The study was printed in instalments in the newly founded periodical Uchenye zapiski Kazanskogo Imperatorskogo Universiteta [i.e. Scientific Notes of Kazan Imperial University] in the years 1836, 1837, 1838. Consisting of 13 chapters, the work contained a detailed exposition of Lobachevsky’s geometrical system with an attempt to use the smallest possible number of axioms. Although the innovator went on to publish 4 more works (all printed in periodicals) on non-Euclidean geometry, New Principles went down in history as Lobachevsky’s most comprehensive study of the matter.
After more than 60 years New Principles began to appear abroad. The English (1897) and German (1898) versions were soon followed by the French translation that was first published in the Memoirs of the Royal Science Society of Liège in 1900. A year later, the extract from the periodical came out as the separate edition. The work was translated by F. Mallieux and included an introduction and 8 chapters from original Russian publication. The edition also features 9 plates showing the figures attributed to the experiments.
Worldcat shows copies of the edition at University of Chicago Library and University of Kansas.