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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science


An elementary treatise on the lunar theory, with a brief sketch of the history of the problem up to the time of Newton,
by Hugh Godfray

Cambridge, Macmillan and Co., 1859.
Second edition, revised

Hugh Godfray (c1821-1877) first published his treatise in 1853, a year after he graduated from St. John’s College. Lunar theory would become central to George Darwin’s work, and he went on to form crucial theories regarding lunar acceleration, earth retardation, the earth-moon system, and the genesis of the moon. This book is signed February 1866, when Darwin was aged 20 and still at Cambridge. He seems to have noted particular passages to ‘learn’ or even ‘learn by heart,’ including within Godfray’s sections on the problems of two and three bodies with regards to the orbits of the Sun, Earth and Moon. Darwin later made his own major studies of these famous problems of celestial mechanics.

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