London: for Timothy Childe, 1698, 8vo (17.2 x 10.7 cm)pp.  120, 5 engraved folding plates, contemporary ownership inscription ‘B Barnes’ to head, contemporary panelled calf, restored.
The Rare First Edition in English of one of the first scientific inquiries into the possibility of extra-terrestrial life, first published in Latin earlier the same year as Kosmotheros, sive de terris coelestibus, earumque ornatu, conjecturae. ‘Huygens’s reasoning is that it is in the creation of life and living beings that the wisdom and providence of God are most manifest. In the Copernican world system … the earth holds no privilieged position among the other planets. It would therefore be unreasonable to suppose that life should be restricted to earth alone’ (DSB).
Christiaan Huygens Dutch physicist, mathematician, astronomer and inventor, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists of all time and a major figure in the scientific revolution. In physics, Huygens made groundbreaking contributions in optics and mechanics, while as an astronomer he is chiefly known for his studies of the rings of Saturn and the discovery of its moon Titan. As an inventor, he improved the design of the telescope with the invention of the Huygenian eyepiece. His most famous invention, however, was the pendulum clock in 1656, which was a breakthrough in timekeeping and became the most accurate timekeeper for almost 300 years. Huygens was an outstanding mathematician and, because he was the first to transfer mathematical inquiry to describe unobservable physical phenomena, he has been called the first theoretical physicist and the founder of modern mathematical physics.
DSB VI pp. 611-13; ESTC R5990; Wing H3859.