BOOK REVIEW: World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement by Robert Crease

Review by Devin Powell

By Science News, 12:44 PM November 3, 2011

There’s more to the meter than a metal stick. Crease, a physicist and philosopher, traces the rise of the metric system, telling a colorful tale of global conquest driven by kings, revolutionaries, polyglots and privateers — and ultimately scientists looking for rulers that could outlast any physical object.

The French Revolution, argues Crease, set the stage for the first worldwide system of measurement. Spurred by calls for equality, France adopted standards for the meter and kilogram, wh...

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