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Van Helmont, Jan Baptist (1580-1644) Ortus Medicinae id est Initia Physicae Inaudita.
Amsterdam: Elzevir, 1648.
First collected edition, large quarto, engraved full-paged plate with portrait of Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont and J-B van Helmont surrounded by coats of arms; bound in full contemporary parchment, laced case construction, ex libris Joseph Luce with his book ticket and an early engraved armorial bookplate with no text; 8 x 6 1/4 in.
Van Helmont is considered the founder of pneumatic chemistry. He introduced the word gas into the lexicon of physical science from the Greek word chaos. His son edited this posthumous collection of his works. Helmont performed an experiment on a willow tree, whose results were published in this work for the first time. In it, he measured the initial weight of a young tree and its soil, and then continued to weigh all of the water he gave the plant. After five years, the tree had gained 164 pounds, although the weight of the soil remained the same. Thus concluding that the tree's weight had come only from the water.
Garrison-Morton 665; NLM/Krivatsy 5442; Norman 1048; PMM 135; Waller 4307; Wellcome III, p. 241.