Ian Whitelaw

a measure of all things

Measurement can sometimes be a confusing business. One might expect a gallon to be the same everywhere, but a US gallon is considerably different from an imperial gallon. And what of older measures such as the 'rod, pole or perch' - how did this turn out to be five and a half yards? In a measure of all things Ian Whitelaw delves into such issues. The result is a book which is full of information on the many different systems of measurement used for different purposes, such as sheets of paper, bottles of champagne and even the hotness of a chilli.

The book has 11 chapters, each looking at a type of measurement - length, area, volume, mass, time, temperature and so on. These are divided into typically 2 page sections on a particular topic, with plenty of diagrams. This helps to pack in a great deal of information, but in a way which is accessible to the novice reader. However, it's not the sort of book to read from start to finish, but then again it isn't really a reference book either - its more of a book to dip into at odd moments. I think its best suited for those who want some background information on the systems of measurement which they encounter.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 160 pages  
ISBN: 0715326961
Salesrank: 4978522
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2007 David & Charles
Marketplace::Used from $6.12
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 160 pages  
ISBN: 0312370261
Salesrank: 1791325
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2007 St. Martin's Press
Marketplace::Used from £1.20
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 160 pages  
ISBN: 0715326961
Salesrank: 3485078
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2007 David & Charles
Marketplace::Used from CDN$ 15.34
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Product Description
Every wonder how long a cubit really is? How much is in a hogshead and what it refers to? Or the difference between a light year, a parsec and a Planck length? How many pings there are in an acre and who uses which term in what context? Every wonder where all these terms and formats came from and how they are used? Well, wonder no more!
     In the tradition of Schott's Miscellany, A Measure of All Things is a well-researched page-turning, illustrated look at the way things concrete and theoretical are and have been measured. It ranges from the history of measurement systems (from the earliest times to the present) to the different classes of measurements (length, area, volume, mass, time, temparature, speed, power, energy, pressure and everyday, unscientific measurements). A Measure of All Things covers the origins of the various units of measurement, the ways in which they developed and changed over time, and the many connections between them.