Author(s): Ken Alder
The Measure of All Things tells the story of how science, revolutionary politics and the dream of a new economy converged to produce both the metric system and the first struggle over globalization.
Amidst the scientific fervour of the Revolution two French scientists, Delambre and Mechain, were sent out on an expedition to measure the shape of the world and thereby establish the metre.
As one scientist went north along the French meridian and the other south, they could not know the deadly obstacles that lay ahead. Delambre narrowly escaped the guillotine on the outskirts of Paris, while Mechain was trapped behind enemy lines in the way against Spain and imprisoned. It was to be seven years before they received a hero's welcome in Paris.
'Riveting ... An eye opener' TELEGRAPH 'Fluent in style, rich in both ideas and characters and full of dramatic urgency' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'best books of 2002' ECONOMIST 'The agonies and ecstasies involved in the creation of the metre, skilfully told' SUNDAY TIMES 'Exemplary of how successfully non-fiction can marry intellectual range and human interest' THE SPECTATOR
Ken Alder has a PhD from Harvard in History of Science as well as a Physics degree. In 1998 he won the Dexter Prize for the best book on the history of technology.