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Description - Measure for Measure by Alexius J. Hebra

From the cubit used by Noah to build the ark to the angstrom in spectroscopy, units of measure have been integral to science and engineering. Throughout history, countless systems of measurement have been devised and then discarded as more precise and more logical systems have come along. While most of the world has adopted the metric system, the United States - with the curious exception of soda bottles - adheres to the imperial system, even though the country has officially been a metric nation since 1893, when Thomas Corwin Mendenhall declared metric prototypes the country's "fundamental standards of length and mass". The convenience of the base-ten metric system is undeniable, and so are the costs associated with not converting to metric. Yet, Americans still cling to inches, quarts and ounces. Clearly, there is more to measurement than logic. In this book, Alex Hebra offers an engaging and instructive history of measurement systems from ancient times to the present, exploring how and why such units as the stadium, the span and the parsec first came about. Tracing civilization's various efforts to calculate distance, volume, mass, energy and time, he explains how units of measurement are applied in such fields as mechanical engineering, physics, optics and astronomy. In particular, Hebra focuses on the development of the metric system, arguing that even the United States will eventually join the worldwide metric community. "Measure for Measure" chronicles humanity's imperfect search for the perfect system with which to quantify reality.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801870729
ISBN-10: 0801870720
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 139mm x mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 2-Jun-2003
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Alexius J. Hebra

Alex Hebra is a science writer and research and development engineering consultant.