William Shakespeare - Morgan Freeman TV - Jim Al-Khalili TV - Protagoras - Jacob Bronowski TV - Lawrence M Krauss - Andrew Marvell - Proverbs 16:11 - Proverbs 20:10&23 - Mark 4:24 - Marcus du Sautoy TV - Sigmund Freud - John Stewart Bell - Werner Heisenberg - Mike Pepper - Stephen Hawking - Measuring Mass: The Last Artefact TV - Adam Curtis TV -
There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit. William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing I ii 3-4, Conrad to Don John
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure V i 411
Quantum: Nothing is certain until an observer makes a measurement. Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman s3e3: Is the Universe Alive? Science 2012
The measurement problem ... An atom only appears in a particular place if you measure it. In other words an atom is spread out all over the place until a conscious observer decides to look at it. So the act of measurement or observation creates the entire universe. Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Atom: The Illusion of Reality, BBC 2008
Man is the measure of all things. Protagoras, 480-411 BCE
For a long time the astrolabe was the pocket watch and the slide-rule of the world. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 5/13: Music of the Spheres, BBC 1973
Science has taught us to think the unthinkable. Because when nature is the guide – rather than a priori prejudices, hopes, fears or desires – we are forced out of our comfort zone. One by one, pillars of classical logic have fallen by the wayside as science progressed in the 20th century, from Einstein’s realization that measurements of space and time were not absolute but observer-dependent, to quantum mechanics, which not only put fundamental limits on what we can empirically know but also demonstrated that elementary particles and the atoms they form are doing a million seemingly impossible things at once. Lawrence M Krauss
Choosing each stone, and poising every weight,
Trying the measures of the breadth and height;
Here pulling down, and there erecting new,
Founding a firm state by propositions true. Andrew Marvell, 1655
A just weight and balance are the Lord’s: all the weights of the bag are his work. Proverbs 16:11
Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.
Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not good. Proverbs 20:10&23
With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you. Mark 4:24
Our modern-day lives are completely driven by precise measurement. Professor Marcus du Sautoy, Precision: The Measure of All Things I: Time and Distance, BBC 2013
The numbers twelve and sixty were so familiar to Egyptians. ibid.
Standardisation of measurement underpins all modern science. ibid.
By basing the metre on the planet itself no one country could argue for their own measurement. ibid.
Bureau International des Poids et Mesures: the custodians of international weight and measurement. ibid.
Ptolemy – who divided a circle into three hundred and sixty equal parts called degrees: he then split each degree into sixty minutes and each minute into sixty second minutes. ibid.
The world embraced Greenwich time. ibid.
Maxwell’s theories would change the course of measurement history. ibid.
Lasers changed everything. ibid.
A new generation of clock: the atomic clock. ibid.
Time and length were intimately intertwined. ibid.
Kilo: it’s the weight on which all weights have been based. Professor Marcus du Sautoy, Precision: The Measure of All Things II: Mass and Moles, BBC 2013
It was the great Sir Isaac Newton who first realised that weight changes depending on where and when you are measuring it. ibid.
The metre = one ten millionth of the distance between the north pole and the equator. ibid.
It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement – that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life. Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
The concept of measurement becomes so fuzzy on reflection that it is quite surprising to have it appearing in physical theory at the most fundamental level ... Does not any analysis of measurement require concepts more fundamental than measurement? And should not the fundamental theory be about these more fundamental concepts? John Stewart Bell, Quantum Mechanics for Cosmologists, 1981
The more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa. Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle
Temperature is a way of describing – we must know temperature accurately. We must know numbers accurately. Professor Sir Mike Pepper, Cavendish Institute
The more accurately you try to measure the position of the particle, the less accurately you can measure its speed, and vice versa ... Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a fundamental, inescapable property of the world. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time p61
This is the story of an artefact … An object against which all others can be measured … Secured in an underground vault … There is a problem that metrologists are worried about … The weight of everything on the planet has been changing … The kilogram, a fundamental unit of SI … ‘Everything that humans make as a standard decays … and changes and evolves … Everything is decaying’ … Since it was forged, the IPK and its replicas have deviated from one another by about 50 micrograms, or the mass of a single eyelash. Measuring Mass: The Last Artefact, BBC 2021
‘We want a barometer of the indicators of the quality of life.’ Adam Curtis, The Trap II: The Lonely Robot, Prescott, BBC 2007
What New Labour began to discover was that people were more complex and devious than the simple model allowed. ibid.
Hospital managers proved to be particularly devious. When they were set targets to cut waiting lists, they ordered consultants to do the easiest operations first, like bunions and vasectomies. Complicated ones like cancers were no longer prioritised. And they found other clever ways of getting people off the lists. ibid.
The Treasury under Gordon Brown created a vast mathematical system. They invented ways of giving numerical values to things that previously no-one thought could be measured. Hunger in sub-Saharan Africa was to be reduced to below forty-eight per cent, while world conflict was to be reduced by six per cent. And all the towns and villages in Britain would be measured for a community vibrancy index. And even life in the countryside was broken down to a series of indices, one of which measured how much bird song there should be. ibid.