The second coming of the birth of the binary system

Leibniz, [G. W.]

Explication de l'arithmètique binaire, qui se sert des seuls caractères 0 & I; avec des remarques sur son utilité, & sur ce qu'elle donne le sens des anciennes figures Chinoises de Fohy.

Published 1705
Item ID 73854

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Paris, Charles-Estienne Hochereau, 1720. 4to (24.5 x 18.7 cm). pp. 58-63 [ Histoire]; pp. 85-89 [ Mémoires], in Histoire de l'Academie royale des Sciences. Années MDCCIII [1703]. Avec les Mémoires de Mathematique & de Physique, pour la même Année. Engraved frontispiece; title page with engraved vignette, [viii], 148 [ Histoire], 467, [i] [ Mémoires] pp.; several text engravings, 12 engraved, folded plates. Contemporary full polished calf; spine with five raised bands and two burgundy morocco labels. Boards with gilt floral border, gilt line on edge and gilt inner dentelles. Marbled endpapers, marbled edges.

First edition, second printing of the first paper on binary numbers by the polymath - principally mathematician - Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz (1646-1716) [here: Leibnitz]. The first printing was issued in 1705, a third in 1731. "Leibniz was the first mathematician thoroughly to study the binary system, upon which all modern digital computers are based" (Heilbron). The whole volume of the Mémoires, with several other papers, including two important mathematical works by Jakob Bernoulli. Provenance: the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution; their circular bookplate with the date 1824 mounted on the front pastedown. Light wear to the boards; frontispiece with old, marginal paper reinforcement, a few skilful repairs. Otherwise, an excellent, very clean, complete copy. Heilbron, The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science ( Computer Science, p. 172).

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