Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement” as Want to Read:
World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  56 ratings  ·  8 reviews
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
ebook, 0 pages
Published October 24th 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about World in the Balance, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about World in the Balance

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 151)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Didn't read all of this, just the parts I was interested in ( Watt balance ) and skipped over a lot of the triva
Atila Iamarino
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.
A marvelous read on an important topic, marred only by unnecessary, sloppy errors a good editor should have spotted, including

pound 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.
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.
Jamie Weiss
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 ...more
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.
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.
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!
Ademar Alves de Oliveira
Ademar Alves de Oliveira marked it as to-read
Apr 18, 2015
Bruce marked it as to-read
Feb 19, 2015
Skladha marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2015
Rafael Campos
Rafael Campos marked it as to-read
Jan 19, 2015
Coop marked it as to-read
Jan 11, 2015
Mauro Heine
Mauro Heine marked it as to-read
Jan 03, 2015
Rodrigo Barbosa
Rodrigo Barbosa marked it as to-read
Dec 29, 2014
Pamela Lessner
Pamela Lessner marked it as to-read
Dec 01, 2014
Danilo Marostegan
Danilo Marostegan marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2014
Yoshia marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2014
Biba marked it as to-read
Oct 02, 2014
Mai added it
Sep 26, 2014
Rick marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2014
Nathan marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Professor Robert P. Crease is Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Stony Brook University, New York.
More about Robert P. Crease...
The Great Equations: Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics Making Physics: A Biography of Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1946-1972

Share This Book