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Trigonometry For The Practicing Astronomer

CAGNOLI, Antonio. Trigonometria Piana e Sferica. Paris, Francesco Ambrogio Didot, 1786.

4to., (2) ff., xv, (1), 461, (1) pp. with 6 folded plates & 12 folded tables. Bound in contemporary mottled half calf and mottled paper over boards, worn at extremities. Title cropped without loss. Generally very good.


First edition of, according to Lalande, the best book of the period on trigonometry and its application to astronomy. The work was actually a handbook covering all aspects of the field for the practicing astronomer and contains for the first time the trigonometric formula which now bears Cagnoli's name. In 1788, this work was translated into French and was quickly disseminated throughout Europe. A second edition appeared in Bologna in 1804, and was subsequently translated into French in 1806.

Originally a member of the Venetian diplomatic corps, the author served in Madrid and later Paris where this, his first separately printed work, was issued in Italian. At Paris, he had an observatory constructed for himself, furnished with the latest astronomical instruments. These were later moved to Verona when he abandoned diplomacy for science in 1785. Cagnoli was a member of 21 different professional organizations to which he contributed papers. After the death of Lorgna, he became president of the "Societa italiana per il progresso delle scienze", and held this post for 18 years, including for the duration of the difficult Napoleonic period in Italian politics.

NUC lists one copy only at the University of Oklahoma; OCLC adds Brown and Oxford.

* Poggendorff I.539; Roller-Goodman, I.193.

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