Amidst the fervour of the Revolution, two French scientists were sent on an expedition to measure the world and establish the metre, which was to be one ten-millionth the distance from pole to equator. As one went north and the other south, their experiences diverged just as radically.
This volume tells the story of how science, revolutionary politics, and the dream of a new economy converged to produce both the metric system and the first struggle over globalization. Amidst the scientific fervour of the Revolution, two French scientists, Delambre and Mechain, were sent out on an expedition to measure the shape of the world and thereby establish the metre (which was to be one ten-millionth the distance from pole to equator). Their hope was that people would use the globe as the basis of measure rather than an arbitrary system meted out by the monarchs. As one scientist went north along the French meridian and the other south, their experiences diverged just as radically. After seven years, they received a hero's welcome upon their return to Paris. Mechain, however, was obsessed over a minute error in his calculations that he'd discovered and concealed, and which eventually drove him to his grave. His death forced his colleague Delambre to choose between loyalty to his friend and his science.
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The revolutionary adventures of two French scientists whose expedition to measure the shape of the world inaugurated the metric system.
About Ken Alder
Ken Alder has a PhD from Harvard in History of Science as well as a Physics degree. In 1998 he won the Dexter Prize for the best book on the history of technology.
The Measure Of All Things by Ken Alder
Used - Very Good
Little, Brown & Company
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