Related to This Book

Other Sites

World in the Balance

The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement

Robert P. Crease (Author, Stony Brook University)


“Shows that the story of metrology . . . can in the right hands make for a riveting read.”—The Economist

Millions of transactions each day depend on a reliable network of weights and measures. But achieving such a network was anything but easy, as Robert P. Crease, physicist and philosopher, demonstrates in this endlessly fascinating, always entertaining look at just how this international system evolved. From the link between musical pitch and distance in the dynasties of ancient China and the use of figurines to measure gold in West Africa to the creation of the French metric and British imperial systems, Crease takes readers along on one of history’s greatest philosophical and scientific adventures.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • October 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34354-0
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“A colorful tale of global conquest driven by kings, revolutionaries, polyglots and privateers.” — Science News

“[A] fascinating book.” — New Scientist

“By any measure, this book is a delight.” — Natural History

“Takes the seemingly mundane questions we unthinkingly ask dozens of times a day and reveals them to be thrillingly profound.” — Richard Panek, author of The 4% Universe

Also by Robert P. Crease All

  1. Book CoverThe Great Equations: Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg


  2. Book CoverThe Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty


  3. Book CoverThe Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority


All Subjects