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

Robert P. Crease


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

  • Title: World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement
  • Author: Robert P. Crease
  • ISBN: 9780393072983
  • Page: 418
  • Format: Hardcover



Millions of transactions each day depend on a reliable network of weights and measures This network has been called a greater invention than the steam engine, comparable only to the development of the printing press.Robert P Crease traces the evolution of this international system from the use of flutes to measure distance in the dynasties of ancient China and figurinesMillions of transactions each day depend on a reliable network of weights and measures This network has been called a greater invention than the steam engine, comparable only to the development of the printing press.Robert P Crease traces the evolution of this international 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 The former prevailed, with the United States one of three holdout nations Into this captivating history Crease weaves stories of colorful individuals, including Thomas Jefferson, an advocate of the metric system, and American philosopher Charles S Peirce, the first to tie the meter to the wavelength of light Tracing the dynamic struggle for ultimate precision, World in the Balance demonstrates that measurement is both stranger and integral to our lives than we ever suspected.


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

Legal e bem escrito, mas pelo tema achei um tanto chato. Gostei de saber como as medidas transitaram de algo orgânico, como um pé ou uma polegada, ou mesmo medidas de área baseadas em produtividade ou um dia de trabalho na lavoura, para algo universal. Mas acompanhei mais por já estar ouvindo.

Didn't read all of this, just the parts I was interested in ( Watt balance ) and skipped over a lot of the triva

¿Quién hubiera pensado que la historia de cómo llegamos a tener un Sistema Internacional de mediciones era tan aburrida? Probablemente cualquiera, pero yo me imaginé que podría ser interesante. Obviamente existen aspectos interesantes (por ejemplo, que inicialmente Estados Unidos rechazó el sistema métrico por motivos religiosos, WTF), pero a partir de cierto punto el libro se vuelve repetitivo, y en los últimos capítulos se desvía por completo del tema. Pudo ser más breve y más inte [...]

Very well-written, this was a mostly (I got a little lost in the final third) interesting book on the birth and history of the metric system. There's so much about measurements that we take for granted, that I never even thought had origins or stories--but do. Enjoyable.

World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement (henceforth, World in the Balance or the book) by Robert Crease is an interesting if a bit peculiar book. I mean by peculiar that it talks about metrology, but it does so in a more popular fashion than might be expected. As the author tells us, he wants the common man to understand why metrology is important now and why it has been to cultures from the past.This book is full of interesting facts, but I found that the [...]

This was a Christmas present last year from my dad - I have no idea how he picked out or why. A history book about weights and measurements doesn't exactly get the blood flowing. As for a review - it lived up to its promise - it's a history book about setting standards for weights and measurements, dating back to ancient times through the French Revolution and the birth of the metric system to modernity's move towards defining measurements in terms of natural phenomenon (instead of a rock that i [...]

A marvelous read on an important topic, marred only by unnecessary, sloppy errors a good editor should have spotted, includingpound instead of ounce (p. 106)Louis and Clark instead of Lewis and Clark (p. 115)"stone" = 14 lbs, NOT oz (p. 142) capitol instead of capital (pp. 146 & 148) along with some redundancies. All in all, however, highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the history of science, governance and/or modernity.

I have become more and more interested in metrology over the years. Crease's well-researched book covers mass and length quite well, and their historical metrology, quite well. I especially enjoyed the section on early Chinese measures.On the other hand, he completely left out the history of certain measures such as luminosity and temperature. I would also have enjoyed a more complete discussion of the theory behind the Watt balance.

An excellent microhistory of the quest to define absolute measurements. In addition, the author inadvertently provides some eye-opening examples of the human capacity for obsession and precision. Thoroughly enjoyable!

This is a dry but detailed history of the standards of measure. I was hoping for more physics of the quantum units of measurement. The part about Akan goldweights was pretty interesting, but it felt like more anthropology than metrology.

This should be more interesting, but it begins to drag about half way through.

Really 3.5. Some (most?) of the book was top notch but there was one really meh part. Very interesting other than that section though.

mas parece un recuento de discusiones bizantinas, no entra en como y por que se llego a cada tipo de medida.


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