By Jimena Canales

ISBN-10: 0226093182

ISBN-13: 9780226093185

In the past due 15th century, clocks received minute arms. A century later, moment arms seemed. however it wasn’t till the 1850s that tools may well realize a 10th of a moment, and, when they did, the impression on sleek technology and society used to be profound. Revealing the background in the back of this infinitesimal period, A 10th of a Second sheds new gentle on modernity and illuminates the paintings of vital thinkers of the final centuries.

Tracing debates in regards to the nature of time, causality, and loose will, in addition to the advent of recent technologies—telegraphy, images, cinematography—Jimena Canales locates the reverberations of this “perceptual second” all through tradition. as soon as scientists linked the 10th of a moment with the rate of idea, they built response time experiments with lasting implications for experimental psychology, body structure, and optics. Astronomers and physicists struggled to regulate the profound effects of effects that have been a 10th of a moment off. And references to the period have been a part of a basic inquiry into time, attention, and sensory event that concerned rethinking the contributions of Descartes and Kant.

Considering its impression on for much longer time classes and that includes appearances through Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, and Albert Einstein, between others, A 10th of a Second is finally an incredible contribution to historical past and a singular viewpoint on modernity.

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Example text

In contrast to Gauss, Arago considered observation errors of an entirely different nature. These persisted even when observations were repeated and averaged and even when subjected to the least squares method. They did not display the same bell-curve shape as random errors, and they did not disappear by using traditional instruments (such as microscopes and telescopes) previously legitimated as expanding the reach of the senses. These errors could no longer be explained away by invoking the well-known universal fallibility of the senses or by using these new mathematical techniques.

For Helmholtz’s work with frogs and the graphic method, see Frederic L. Holmes and Kathryn M. Olesko, “The Images of Precision: Helmholtz and the Graphical Method in Physiology,” in The Values of Precision, ed. M. : Princeton University Press, 1995); Kathryn M. Olesko and Frederic L. Holmes, “Experiment, Quantification, and Discovery: Helmholtz’s Early Physiological Researches, 1843–50,” in Hermann von Helmholtz and the Foundations of Nineteenth-Century Science, ed. David Cahan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Robert M.

The incident became a rallying symbol of a small but sturdy revolutionary movement within science whose goals echoed those of the larger European revolutions. The story was told using politically charged language. It was (so the story went) a moment when the authoritarian Astronomer Royal unfairly repressed his assistant’s unique way of seeing. Tenth-of-a-second differences could only be acknowledged in scientific spaces organized differently, where subordinate observers were not so easily dismissed.

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A Tenth of a Second: A History by Jimena Canales


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