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Download The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (286 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ken Alder Narrator: Brian Jennings, Byron Jennings Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Midst the chaos of the French Revolution, two astronomers set out in opposite directions from Paris to measure the world, one voyaging north to Dunkirk, the other south to Barcelona. Their findings would help define the meter as one ten-millionth of the distance between the pole and the equator. The Measure of All Things is the astonishing story of one of history’s greatest scientific quests, a mission to measure the Earth and define the meter for all nations and for all time.

Yet when Ken Alder located the long-lost correspondence between the two men, along with their mission logbooks, he stumbled upon a two-hundred-year-old secret. The meter, it turns out, is in error. Pierre-François-André Méchain, made contradictory measurements from Barcelona and, in a panic, covered up the discrepancy. The quilty knowledge of his misdeed drove him to the brink of madness, and ultimately to his death. Only then did his partner, Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre, discover the truth and face a fateful choice: what matters more, the truth or the appearance of the truth?

This is a story of two men, a secret, and a timeless human dilemma: is it permissible to perpetuate a small lie in the service of a larger truth? In The Measure of All Things Ken Alder describes a quest that succeeded even as it failed. It is a story for all people, for all time.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Justin | 2/20/2014

    " This is probably a 3.5 book. At times it's a great read, but there are some dry stretches. Alder does a great job integrating history, science, character studies, adventure stories, and more. He's at his best looking into the psychology of the two main figures, and the twist at the end when he discusses their relationship to error theory. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Marks54 | 2/5/2014

    " I got this book as a follow-up to the Longitude book. It chronicles an expedition to exactly determine the length of the meter as a unit of measure by the French Revolutionary government and is a good example of how our weights and measures were established by the work of surveyors that we trying to be accurate and apolitical. This is another chapter of how science can be subverted to political interests, even though that was not the intent of the protagonists. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Skedatt | 1/26/2014

    " A bit too in-depth with some decidedly slanted use of language. Other than that, I learned something new. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Richard | 1/17/2014

    " About the effort to measure the Earth and define the length of the meter, all amidst the French Revolution. Interesting mix of science and history. "

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