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Measure of the Earth: The Enlightenment Expedition That Reshaped Our Worldby Larrie D Ferreiro
Synopses & Reviews
In the 18th century, Europes scientific community was torn between two opposing theories: Descartes argument that the Earth was spherical, and Newtons contention that it was flattened at the poles. Recognizing that the answer was the key to securely navigating the earths oceans, France and Spain organized a joint expedition to colonial Peru. Their goal was to measure a degree of latitude at the Equator; by comparing this measurement to one taken back in Europe, they would be able to determine the planets shape and put an end to the debate. But what seemed a straightforward scientific exercise was almost immediately marred by a series of unforeseen catastrophes: treacherous terrain, deeply suspicious locals, and the voyagers own hubris. A thrilling tale of adventure, political history, and scientific discovery, Larrie D. Ferreiros Measure of the Earth recounts the greatest scientific exhibition of the Enlightenment through the eyes of the men who completed it—pioneers who overcame tremendous adversity to traverse the towering Andes Mountains and discern the Earths true shape.
An award-winning historian of science reveals the riveting and little-known story of a team of eighteenth-century European scientists that journeyed to South America to calculate the shape of the earth.
About the Author
Larrie D. Ferreiro is the author and editor of several books on the history of science and technology, including Ships and Science, which received the North American Society for Oceanic Historys John Lyman Award for Best Book in Science and Technology. A frequent maritime contributor to the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, he was an on-screen historical consultant to a BBC documentary about the Geodesic Mission. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
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