MAN THE MEASURER by Roy A. Gallant


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Familiar but still productive games such as inventing a personal unit of measure, graphing the results of a series of coin tosses and estimating the number of hairs on a person's head help demonstrate that a standard measurement can be any agreed upon quantity, that the precision of a measurement should be appropriate to its intended use, and that a more precise measurement is not necessarily a more accurate one. Gallant's breezy history shifts a little abruptly from Egypt to England, but he does give many examples of the variety of measurements used by modern scientists -- from the tiny fermi to the 93 million miles which constitute one astronomical unit, and the appended tables reveal the complexity and unwieldiness of the British/American weights and measures in contrast to the logic of the metric system. An open-ended, undemanding introduction to the use of measurement as a scientific tool.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday