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

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


By (author) Robert P. Crease

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  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 208mm x 23mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 16 November 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0393343545
  • ISBN 13: 9780393343540
  • Sales rank: 809,798

Product description

Millions of transactions each day depend on a reliable network of weights and measures. But achieving such a network was anything but easy, as Robert P. Crease, physicist and philosopher, demonstrates in this endlessly fascinating, always entertaining look at just how this international system evolved. From the link between musical pitch and distance in the dynasties of ancient China and the use of figurines to measure gold in West Africa to the creation of the French metric and British imperial systems, Crease takes readers along on one of history's greatest philosophical and scientific adventures.

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Author information

Robert P. Crease writes the "Critical Point" column in Physics World and is a professor of philosophy at Stony Brook University. His books include The Great Equations and World in the Balance.

Review quote

"A colorful tale of global conquest driven by kings, revolutionaries, polyglots and privateers." "[A] fascinating book." "By any measure, this book is a delight." "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