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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.
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 Cannon||p. 13|
|Vitruvian Man||p. 17|
|Ancient China: Feet and Flutes||p. 35|
|West Africa: Gold Weights||p. 53|
|France: "Realities of Life and Labor"||p. 69|
|Halting Steps Toward Universality||p. 99|
|"One of the Greatest Triumphs of Modern Civilization"||p. 126|
|Metrophilia and Metrophobia||p. 149|
|Surely You're Joking, Mr. Duchamp!||p. 167|
|Dreams of a Final Standard||p. 183|
|Universal System: The SI||p. 210|
|The Modern Metroscape||p. 227|
|Au Revoir, Kilogram||p. 249|
|Illustration Credits||p. 295|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|