An Intimate Look at the Night Sky ) isn't merely a history of the prime meridian, the zero-longitude line passing "/>

Walking Zero: Discovering Cosmic Space and Time Along the Prime Meridian

Chet Raymo, Author . Walker $23 (194p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1494-7

The latest from noted science writer Raymo (An Intimate Look at the Night Sky ) isn't merely a history of the prime meridian, the zero-longitude line passing through eastern England that is the starting point for measuring both space and time on Earth. Roughly speaking, Raymo is interested in how we understand our place in the cosmos, and his walk along the prime meridian is a meditation on the evolving ways that humans have measured and understood space and time, stopping here and there at some of the most prominent landmarks in the history of science. The slender volume covers an astonishing amount of ground, ranging from the astronomers of ancient Alexandria to the fellows of the British Royal Society, from Piltdown Man to contemporary debates over relativism and scientific knowledge. The result is an unexpected combination of popular history, travelogue and intellectual memoir, as meandering and invigorating as a brisk country walk, and while there is little here that hasn't been recounted elsewhere, the real joy is in the journey—one could hardly ask for a better travel companion than Raymo, a professor emeritus of physics and astronomy whose prose is delightfully erudite and introspective. 25 b&w illus., 1 map. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/06/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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