JF Ptak Science Books
Offered below is a highly interesting and diverse volume of The Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature, and the Arts, edited at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, published by John Murray for the Royal Institution, London, 1819; volume VI; illustrated with three engraved plates and a folding map; contained in the volume of iv, 402. Bound in half-calf with calf tips, and marbled boards. Nice copy. $350
- "Height of the Himalaya Mountains (pp 51-75), signed “H.T.C.” with a 12x9” folding map.
This is a wonderful story on the early mapping of the Himalayas, including teh work of Capt. WIlliam Webb, who identified the highest mountain peak in the world in 1817. The map that accompanies the article is mostly blank, with teh exceptions of rivers, a few establishments, and a series of peaks ennumerated with Roman numerals. In this case, the peak XIV is identified, rising to 25,643 feet. It is today known as Nanda Devi, located approximately at 79.30 E. Long and 30.30 N Lat. The peak today is the second highest in India and 23rd highest in the world.
“A list of many lofty peaks of the Himalaya mountains, measured by him, has appeared in divers publications. It agrees, so far as it goes, with the ampler information contained in a Memoir of his survey officially furnished by him. The Memoir, which bears date 30th Nov. 1817, supplies further measurements of more than two hundred elevated positions, geometrically taken for inaccessible heights -. either barometrically or geometrically, for accessible stations - and in
both methods, for twenty of those stations. It explains the mode in which the whole survey has been conducted, and these measurements executed...”
“ From 1816-1820, William Web spent five lonely years surveying Kumaun (he determined the height of Peak XIV or Nanda Devi as 25,669 feet, just 24 feet higher than today's measurement)..”.--https://www.himalayanclub.org/hj/65/3/the-great-game-of-mapping-the-himalaya/
And this: “so far as our knowledge extends, the highest mountain in the world.” Its local name was Nanda Devi and for the next 30 years, while expeditions into the central Himalayas from Tibet and Nepal remained impossible, Nanda Devi reigned supreme as the world’s highest mountain (its height is now established at 25,645 feet/7817 m)--http://imagingeverest.rgs.org/concepts/imaging_everest/-288.html
Other noteworthy articles include
- "On M. Stromeyer's new Metal, Cadmium. In a Letter from J. G. Children, Esq. to the Editor. . ." (On the essential element, Cadmium.)
- "An Hypothesis to account for the variable Depth of the Ocean." A terrific piece of thinking on measuring the semi-immeasurable in 1818.
- "Pitcairn's Island. From the Voyages and Travels of Amaso Delano. Boston, 1817."
- "An Account of some Experiments made on the Body of a Criminal immediately after Execution, with Physiological and Practional Observations." by Andrew Ure, M. D. Again, another endlessly interesting article....