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



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This is the 00 edition with a publication date of 10/17/2012.
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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any CDs, lab manuals, study guides, etc.


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.

Author Biography

Robert P. Crease writes the Critical Point column for Physics World. He is the chairman of the philosophy department at Stony Brook University and lives in New York City. He is the author of, among other books, The Great Equations.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Noonday Cannonp. 13
Vitruvian Manp. 17
Ancient China: Feet and Flutesp. 35
West Africa: Gold Weightsp. 53
France: "Realities of Life and Labor"p. 69
Halting Steps Toward Universalityp. 99
"One of the Greatest Triumphs of Modern Civilization"p. 126
Metrophilia and Metrophobiap. 149
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Duchamp!p. 167
Dreams of a Final Standardp. 183
Universal System: The SIp. 210
The Modern Metroscapep. 227
Au Revoir, Kilogramp. 249
Epiloguep. 269
Acknowledgmentsp. 277
Notesp. 279
Illustration Creditsp. 295
Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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