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The Measure of All Things

The Measure of All Things Author Ken Alder
ISBN-10 9780743249027
Release 2014-07-29
Pages 432
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In June 1792, amidst the chaos of the French Revolution, two intrepid astronomers set out in opposite directions on an extraordinary journey. Starting in Paris, Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre would make his way north to Dunkirk, while Pierre-François-André Méchain voyaged south to Barcelona. Their mission was to measure the world, and their findings would help define the meter as one ten-millionth of the distance between the pole and the equator—a standard that would be used “for all people, for all time.” The Measure of All Things is the astonishing tale of one of history’s greatest scientific adventures. Yet behind the public triumph of the metric system lies a secret error, one that is perpetuated in every subsequent definition of the meter. As acclaimed historian and novelist Ken Alder discovered through his research, there were only two people on the planet who knew the full extent of this error: Delambre and Méchain themselves. By turns a science history, detective tale, and human drama, The Measure of All Things describes a quest that succeeded as it failed—and continues to enlighten and inspire to this day.



The Measure of All Things

The Measure of All Things Author Ken Alder
ISBN-10 0743216768
Release 2003-10-01
Pages 448
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The story of the creation of the metric system in 1792 traces the endeavors of Delambre and Mechain, the backlash of superstitious contemporaries, and the mistake that drove Mechain to the brink of madness.



The Measure of All Things

The Measure of All Things Author Ken Alder
ISBN-10 9780743216753
Release 2002
Pages 422
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The story of the creation of the metric system in 1792 traces the endeavors of Delambre and Mâechain, the backlash of superstitious contemporaries, and the mistake that drove Mâechain to the brink of madness.



A Measure of All Things

A Measure of All Things Author Ian Whitelaw
ISBN-10 0312370261
Release 2007-08-07
Pages 160
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Discusses the origins of standard units of measurement and how they have changed from ancient times to modern day, and describes systems of measurement, including the metric and Imperial systems and the Systeme International.



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 Author Robert P. Crease
ISBN-10 9780393082043
Release 2011-10-24
Pages 320
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The epic story of the invention of a global network of weights, scales, and instruments for measurement. 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 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 more integral to our lives than we ever suspected.



Engineering the Revolution

Engineering the Revolution Author Ken Alder
ISBN-10 9780226012650
Release 2010-04-15
Pages 496
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Engineering the Revolution documents the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the “technological life.” Here, Ken Alder rewrites the history of the eighteenth century as the total history of one particular artifact—the gun—by offering a novel and historical account of how material artifacts emerge as the outcome of political struggle. By expanding the “political” to include conflict over material objects, this volume rethinks the nature of engineering rationality, the origins of mass production, the rise of meritocracy, and our interpretation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.



The Lie Detectors

The Lie Detectors Author Ken Alder
ISBN-10 0803224591
Release 2009
Pages 334
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In this fascinating history of the lie detector, Ken Alder exposes some persistent truths about our culture: why we long to know the secret thoughts of our fellow citizens; why we believe in popular science; and why we embrace ?truthiness.? For centuries people searched in vain for a way to unmask liars, seeking clues in the body?s outward signs: in blushing cheeks and shifty eyes. Not until the 1920s did a cop with a PhD team up with an entrepreneurial high school student and claim to have invented a foolproof machine capable of peering directly into the human heart. Scientists repudiated the technique, and judges banned its results from criminal trials, but in a few years their polygraph had transformed police work, seized headlines, and enthralled the nation.ø In this book, Alder explains why America?and only America?has embraced this mechanical method of reading the human soul. Over the course of the twentieth century, the lie detector became integral to our justice system, employment markets, and national security apparatus, transforming each into a game of bluff and bluster. The lie detector device may not reliably read the human mind, but this lively account shows that the instrument?s history offers a unique window into the American soul.



Measure of the Earth

Measure of the Earth Author Larrie D. Ferreiro
ISBN-10 9780465017232
Release 2011-05-31
Pages 376
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Describes the early 18th-century expedition of scientists sent by France and Spain to colonial Peru to measure the degree of equatorial latitude, which could resolve the debate between whether the earth was spherical or flattened at the poles.



Full Meridian of Glory

Full Meridian of Glory Author Paul Murdin
ISBN-10 0387755349
Release 2008-12-25
Pages 190
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[the text below needs editing and we must be careful not to say things about Dan Brown's book that could get Springer in legal trouble] Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, was first published in 2003; its sales have reached 40 million worldwide. The book mixes a small spice of fact into a large dollop of fiction to create an entertaining novel of intrigue, adventure, romance, danger and conspiracy, which have been imaginatively worked together to cook up the successful bestseller. Most interest in the book’s origins has centred on the sensational religious aspects. Dan Brown has written: ‘All of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical fact.’ This gives an air of authenticity to the book. Brown has, however, made up the religious doctrines, or based them on questionable accounts by others. The locations of the actions of The Da Vinci Code are not, however, made up. The present book is the scientific story behind the scene of several of the book’s actions that take place on the axis of France that passes through Paris. The Paris Meridian is the name of this location. It is the line running north-south through the astronomical observatory in Paris. One of the original intentions behind the founding of the Paris Observatory was to determine and measure this line. The French government financed the Paris Academy of Sciences to do so in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. It employed both astronomers – people who study and measure the stars – and geodesists – people who study and measure the Earth. This book is about what they did and why. It is a true story behind Dan Brown’s fiction. This is the first English language presentation of this historical material. It is attractively written and it features the story of the community of scientists who created the Paris Meridian. They knew each other well – some were members of the same families, in one case of four generations. Like scientists everywhere they collaborated and formed alliances; they also split into warring factions and squabbled. They travelled to foreign countries, somehow transcending the national and political disputes, as scientists do now, their eyes fixed on ideas of accuracy, truth and objective, enduring values – save where the reception given to their own work is concerned, when some became blind to high ideals and descended into petty politics. To establish the Paris Meridian, the scientists endured hardship, survived danger and gloried in amazing adventures during a time of turmoil in Europe, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic War between France and Spain. Some were accused of witchcraft. Some of their associates lost their heads on the guillotine. Some died of disease. Some won honour and fame. One became the Head of State in France, albeit for no more than a few weeks. Some found dangerous love in foreign countries. One scientist killed in self defence when attacked by a jealous lover, another was himself killed by a jealous lover, a third brought back a woman to France and then jilted her, whereupon she joined a convent. The scientists worked on practical problems of interest to the government and to the people. They also worked on one of the important intellectual problems of the time, a problem of great interest to their fellow scientists all over the world, nothing less than the theory of universal gravitation. They succeeded in their intellectual work, while touching politics and the affairs of state. Their endeavours have left their marks on the landscape, in art and in literature.



Einstein s Clocks Poincar s Maps

Einstein s Clocks  Poincar   s Maps Author Peter Galison
ISBN-10 0393020010
Release 2003
Pages 389
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Traces the birth of modern twentieth-century science through the work of German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein and Henri Poincarâe, a mathematician responsible for mapping time coordinates across continents.



The History of Time A Very Short Introduction

The History of Time  A Very Short Introduction Author Leofranc Holford-Strevens
ISBN-10 9780191578007
Release 2005-08-11
Pages 160
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Why do we measure time in the way that we do? Why is a week seven days long? At what point did minutes and seconds come into being? Why are some calendars lunar and some solar? The organisation of time into hours, days, months and years seems immutable and universal, but is actually far more artificial than most people realise. The French Revolution resulted in a restructuring of the French calendar, and the Soviet Union experimented with five and then six-day weeks. Leofranc Holford-Strevens explores these questions using a range of fascinating examples from Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar's imposition of the Leap Year, to the 1920s' project for a fixed Easter. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



The Gospel of Germs

The Gospel of Germs Author Nancy Tomes
ISBN-10 0674357086
Release 1999
Pages 351
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Traces Americans' awareness of microbes as an agent of disease and analyzes the resultant cultural construction of cleanliness from 1870 to the present



A Tenth of a Second

A Tenth of a Second Author Jimena Canales
ISBN-10 9780226093208
Release 2010-01-15
Pages 288
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In the late fifteenth century, clocks acquired minute hands. A century later, second hands appeared. But it wasn’t until the 1850s that instruments could recognize a tenth of a second, and, once they did, the impact on modern science and society was profound. Revealing the history behind this infinitesimal interval, A Tenth of a Second sheds new light on modernity and illuminates the work of important thinkers of the last two centuries. Tracing debates about the nature of time, causality, and free will, as well as the introduction of modern technologies—telegraphy, photography, cinematography—Jimena Canales locates the reverberations of this “perceptual moment” throughout culture. Once scientists associated the tenth of a second with the speed of thought, they developed reaction time experiments with lasting implications for experimental psychology, physiology, and optics. Astronomers and physicists struggled to control the profound consequences of results that were a tenth of a second off. And references to the interval were part of a general inquiry into time, consciousness, and sensory experience that involved rethinking the contributions of Descartes and Kant. Considering its impact on much longer time periods and featuring appearances by Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, and Albert Einstein, among others, A Tenth of a Second is ultimately an important contribution to history and a novel perspective on modernity.



The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics Author Jed Z. Buchwald
ISBN-10 9780199696253
Release 2013-10
Pages 945
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Presents a history of physics, examining the theories and experimental practices of the science.



Pendulum

Pendulum Author Amir D. Aczel
ISBN-10 1416588434
Release 2007-11-01
Pages 288
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In 1851, struggling, self-taught physicist Léon Foucault performed a dramatic demonstration inside the Panthéon in Paris. By tracking a pendulum's path as it swung repeatedly across the interior of the large ceremonial hall, Foucault offered the first definitive proof -- before an audience that comprised the cream of Parisian society, including the future emperor, Napoleon III -- that the earth revolves on its axis. Through careful, primary research, world-renowned author Amir Aczel has revealed the life of a gifted physicist who had almost no formal education in science, and yet managed to succeed despite the adversity he suffered at the hands of his peers. The range and breadth of Foucault's discoveries is astonishing: He gave us the modern electric compass, devised an electric microscope, invented photographic technology, and made remarkable deductions about color theory, heat waves, and the speed of light. Yet until now so little has been known about his life. Richly detailed and evocative, Pendulum tells of the illustrious period in France during the Second Empire; of Foucault's relationship with Napoleon III, a colorful character in his own right; and -- most notably -- of the crucial triumph of science over religion. Dr. Aczel has crafted a fascinating narrative based on the life of this most astonishing and largely unrecognized scientist, whose findings answered many age-old scientific questions and posed new ones that are still relevant today.



Markets and Measurements in Nineteenth Century Britain

Markets and Measurements in Nineteenth Century Britain Author Aashish Velkar
ISBN-10 9781139536820
Release 2012-06-25
Pages
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Measurements are a central institutional component of markets and economic exchange. By the nineteenth century, the measurement system in Britain was desperately in need of revision: a multiplicity of measurement standards, proliferation of local or regional weights and measures, and a confusing array of measurement practices made everyday measurements unreliable. Aashish Velkar uncovers how metrology and economic logic alone failed to make 'measurements' reliable, and discusses the importance of localised practices in shaping trust in them. Markets and Measurements in Nineteenth-Century Britain steers away from the traditional explanations of measurement reliability based on the standardisation and centralisation of metrology; the focus is on changing measurement practices in local economic contexts. Detailed case studies from the industrial revolution suggest that such practices were path-dependent and 'anthropocentric'. Therefore, whilst standardised metrology may have improved precision, it was localised practices that determined the reliability and trustworthiness of measurements in economic contexts.



Thomas Jefferson and his Decimals 1775 1810 Neglected Years in the History of U S School Mathematics

Thomas Jefferson and his Decimals 1775   1810  Neglected Years in the History of U S  School Mathematics Author M. A. Ken Clements
ISBN-10 9783319025056
Release 2014-11-19
Pages 204
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This well-illustrated book, by two established historians of school mathematics, documents Thomas Jefferson’s quest, after 1775, to introduce a form of decimal currency to the fledgling United States of America. The book describes a remarkable study showing how the United States’ decision to adopt a fully decimalized, carefully conceived national currency ultimately had a profound effect on U.S. school mathematics curricula. The book shows, by analyzing a large set of arithmetic textbooks and an even larger set of handwritten cyphering books, that although most eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors of arithmetic textbooks included sections on vulgar and decimal fractions, most school students who prepared cyphering books did not study either vulgar or decimal fractions. In other words, author-intended school arithmetic curricula were not matched by teacher-implemented school arithmetic curricula. Amazingly, that state of affairs continued even after the U.S. Mint began minting dollars, cents and dimes in the 1790s. In U.S. schools between 1775 and 1810 it was often the case that Federal money was studied but decimal fractions were not. That gradually changed during the first century of the formal existence of the United States of America. By contrast, Chapter 6 reports a comparative analysis of data showing that in Great Britain only a minority of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century school students studied decimal fractions. Clements and Ellerton argue that Jefferson’s success in establishing a system of decimalized Federal money had educationally significant effects on implemented school arithmetic curricula in the United States of America. The lens through which Clements and Ellerton have analyzed their large data sets has been the lag-time theoretical position which they have developed. That theory posits that the time between when an important mathematical “discovery” is made (or a concept is “created”) and when that discovery (or concept) becomes an important part of school mathematics is dependent on mathematical, social, political and economic factors. Thus, lag time varies from region to region, and from nation to nation. Clements and Ellerton are the first to identify the years after 1775 as the dawn of a new day in U.S. school mathematics—traditionally, historians have argued that nothing in U.S. school mathematics was worthy of serious study until the 1820s. This book emphasizes the importance of the acceptance of decimal currency so far as school mathematics is concerned. It also draws attention to the consequences for school mathematics of the conscious decision of the U.S. Congress not to proceed with Thomas Jefferson’s grand scheme for a system of decimalized weights and measures.