My fascination with book collecting started when, as a graduate student, I stumbled upon a beaten up copy of Millikan's book (experimental physics) in one of Rutgers University's trash cans. For three whole days, I could not stop admiring the wisdom and clarity that shone from those wrinkled pages. What a contrast it was to standard textbooks and lecture notes; here, for the first time, I heard someone speaking from physics, not about physics. I have since tried to surround myself with the first printings of all books, papers, formulas and ideas that have shaped my thoughts and temperament in gradeschool, highschool and college.
Today, my desk is blessed with an arm-stretch access to the first printing of:
I guess I am still hoping that the cleverness and ingenuity of L'Hospital's Rule, Least Squares, Faraday's Experiments, Wheatston's Bridge, Navier-Stokes equations, Boolean Algebra, Venn Diagrams, The Compton Effect, Special Relativity, Shannon Coding, ... will somehow descend from the bookshelf and rub off my own desk, however lightly.
BTW, I am searching now for Turing's paper "On computable Numbers ..." (Proceedings of the London Mathematics Society, (ser 2) vol 42, No 6, issue for Nov 12 1936 pp.230-376). If you know where I can buy a copy of the first printing of this paper, please send me a clue.
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