A sequel to his previous book Think of a Number, this title goes beyond the story of numbers to explore how numbers are used not just to count but to measure, enabling us to plan, design and build, or, in the words of the subtitle, how maths applies to everything. Right from the start Johnny Ball ensures that it is always fun, beginning with a spoof newspaper filled with nonsensical articles about a world without measurement. He explains how in the Ancient World people didn’t measure anything, they simply guessed. Gradually people observed sun and stars and found they could track their movements to measure time. They began trading and needed to know how to weigh goods, and they worked out how to measure angles, heights and length to build palaces, temples and tombs. Johnny Ball uses puzzles, conundrums and creaky jokes to explain how the Ancient Greeks used geometry to measure the Earth, how Hipparchus’ use of trigonometry opened up a whole new study of the Sun and planets and is still used by engineers today. He also explores instruments of the modern world used to measure less tangible things like heat, sound, energy and light. An inspiring book, made all the more entertaining by the colourful presentation of the DK design team.
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