(London: Alexander Strahan and Company, 1868). 8vo. Without wrappers (as issued). Offprint, seperatly paginated, from "Fortnightly Review 1", Pp. 435-42. Author's presentation inscription to top of front wrapper: "Prof Tyndall / With the author's / kind Compliments". Soiling to front wrappers and nicks throughout, not affecting text. Internally clean. Pp. 8.
First edition, offprint, with the author's presentation inscription to Professor John Tyndall - the father of the Greenhouse Effect, heat radiation and global climate research - of this important paper, in which Herschel promotes the role of the devine in the natural order. Herschel, now famous for originating the use of the Julian day system in astronomy, naming seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus, his investigation in colour blindness and the chemical power of ultraviolet rays, did much to promote the public understanding of science . The present paper constitutes one of his most widely read and popular works. "During his life John was immensely celebrated, his name epitomizing science to the public, much as that of Einstein did in the next century." (DSB)
Though intended for a popular audience "On the Origin of Force" is one of the most important sources for understanding Herschel's general approach to science. A contemporary review of the paper states: "The article is well worth reading for those who wish to realise the enormous benefit which has been rendered to science by banishing the indefinite uee of the word force and by introducing the term energy, restricting the use of force to the meaning attached to it by Newton. Sir John Herschel still speaks of the "conservation of force" (as did likewise Helmholtz, who, however, very early introduces the term Arheitskraft, power to do work, thus removing all ambiguity).
Herschel and Tyndall corresponded throughout their mature lives and they shared an overall view on God's place in science. "In the only case in which we are admitted into any personal knowledge of the origin of force, we find it connected (possibly by intermediate links untraceable by our faculties, but yet indubitably connected) with volition, and by inevitable consequence with motive, with intellect, and with all the attributes of mind in which-and not in the possession of arms, legs, brains, and viscera-personality consists." (Herschel, rrom the present paper). Tyndall agreed in stating that: "An inscrutable power of which we know no more than job did, when he said, 'Can man by searching find this power out?'. (Tyndall's "Belfast Address").