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World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement

Robert P. Crease (Stony Brook University)

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Norton
15 October 2012
Mathematics & Sciences; Mensuration & systems of measurement; Popular science
In this epic story of the invention of a global network of weights, scales and instruments for measurement, Robert P. Crease traces the evolution of the system, from the use of flutes to measure distance in the dynasties of ancient China and figurines to weigh gold in West Africa, to the creation of the French metric and British imperial systems. Into this captivating history Crease weaves stories of colourful individuals, including Thomas Jefferson, an advocate of the metric system and philosopher Charles S. Peirce, the first to tie the metre to the wavelength of light. Tracing the dynamic struggle for ultimate precision, World in the Balance demonstrates that measurement is both stranger and more integral to our lives than we ever suspected.
By:   Robert P. Crease (Stony Brook University)
Imprint:   Norton
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 211mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   255g
ISBN:   9780393343540
ISBN 10:   0393343545
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   15 October 2012
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

The chairman of the Philosophy Department at Stony Brook University, Robert P. Crease writes the Critical Point column for Physics World. He is the author of, among other books, The Great Equations.

Reviews for World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement

Takes the seemingly mundane questions we unthinkingly ask dozens of times a day and reveals them to be thrillingly profound. --Richard Panek, author of The 4% Universe


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