Measuring the WorldAims to recreate the parallel but contrasting lives of two geniuses of the German Enlightenment - the naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt and the mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss.
by Daniel Kehlmann
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Measuring the World Summary
"Measuring the World" recreates the parallel but contrasting lives of two geniuses of the German Enlightenment - the naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt and the mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss. Towards the end of the 18th century, these two brilliant young Germans set out to measure the world. Humboldt, a Prussian aristocrat schooled for greatness, negotiates savannah and jungle, travels down the Orinoco, climbs the highest mountain known to man, counts head lice, and explores every hole in the ground. Gauss, a man born in poverty who will be recognized as the greatest mathematician since Newton, does not even need to leave his home in Gottingen to know that space is curved. He can run prime numbers in his head, cannot imagine a life without women and yet jumps out of bed on his wedding night to jot down a mathematical formula. Daniel Kehlmann has produced a novel of rare charm and readability, distinguished by its sly humour and unforgettable characterisation. The author's acute powers of observation and ability to write memorable dialogue shine through its every page. "Measuring the World" marks the UK debut of a distinctive and original voice in contemporary fiction.
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Measuring the World
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Short-listed for Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008
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