Gauss doesn't like to leave his office and rarely travels. Humboldt does practically nothing but travel. They briefly meet as youths but only meet again at an advanced age. Partially fictitious, this is a story of contemporaries juxtaposed by birth and passion. Maybe it inspires you to add the biographies of the two masterminds and the novel to your reading list. Skip to main content. It has nothing to do with Hitler. The two surveyors of British North America even get a brief, most likely ironic, mention in the text. Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.
Get access Buy the print book. Check if you have access via personal or institutional login. Log in Register Recommend to librarian. They just didn't shout about it in quite the same way. It is also interesting to note that the people doing the scrambling about were, for the most part, European.
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Is this because all Europe-ers are massive nosy bastards So years ago the world was a pretty big place. Is this because all Europe-ers are massive nosy bastards? Another hypothesis might be that some parts of Europe were actually quite late off the mark with regards to general international nosiness. Empires from China, Persia, Greece, Italy and the Middle East had already got a lot of wandering out of their system prior to the time many Europeans were just stretching their legs and wondering exactly what was over the next hill. The "nosey Europe-ers" in question in this book are Gauss and Humboldt, both of whom were real gentlemen who did lots of simultaneous wandering and pondering.
At this point, I suppose it would be good to present people with some hard facts that I may have learned or Googled about Gauss or Humboldt but I don't have any so I am unable to pass comment on how much artistic license Kehlmann took with the main characters. Essentially they are both stupendously clever but Gauss is cleverer than Humboldt what with being your more bog-standard genius and all. Humboldt is pretty smart, incredibly observant and probably an early example of someone with undiagnosed low latent inhibition if you watched Prison Break then you'll know what I mean.
Humboldts determination to be a genius actually almost puts him on level pegging with Gauss who is a bit lazier and less inclined to travel outside of Prussia. Is there a moral to this slightly comedic tale of exploration by two men, both with issues? Doesn't make it a bad read though, just means you'll walk away thinking "ok well that was quite nice" rather than "wow I am a better and more well rounded sentient entity for reading that".
Dec 05, Stef Smulders rated it it was ok Shelves: Don't like this book. The characters of the historical figures of Gauss and Von Humboldt are flat, like in a graphic novel. As a result it is even difficult to keep the two apart. I do not see the sense of using real people in a novel if you do not try to develop their psychology, not try to understand their motives, doubts, struggles.
Measuring the World
In this novel it remains superficial. There is some humor, yes, but again, what is this book meant to be? As a historical novel I cannot take i Don't like this book. As a historical novel I cannot take it seriously. In an intelligent, refined and sophisticated way. The story is a quite simple one: And you do not need any particular scientific knowledge or interest to find the book appealing.
On the other hand, the story itself is not the point, it never is at least not to me. If I had to isolate the element from which the entire beauty of this novel unfolds, it would be the style. The narrative is dynamic, fast-paced, the sentences short and often laconic. Instead of detailed portrayals you get sketches, but they are more the sufficient to create a very human and three-dimensional image of the protagonists. The main feature is the exceptionally clever humour. I laughed aloud sitting alone in a room thanks to the irony and self-irony e. The author makes full use of every imaginable stereotype about scientists, Germans or German scientists: A special treat are the slight but sufficient hints of intrigue and vanity in high political and intellectual circles.
And yes, at times it does feel like a basic version of The Big Bang Theory. View all 8 comments. Gli artisti considerano un merito le divagazioni, ma le cose inventate confondono le persone….. Il confronto tra il matematico astratto Gauss che misura il mondo pensando nel suo studio, e lo scienziato empirico Humboldt che invece percorre in lungo e il largo il mondo per misurarlo praticamente non arriva da nessuna parte.
View all 4 comments. Es una buena lectura. Realmente he disfrutado leyendo la historia de estos dos genios. Vite parallele Vite parallele di due grandi scienziati, il matematico Carl Gauss e il geografo Alexander von Humboldt. Leggendo il libro, mi veniva sempre in mente una bellissima canzone di Mark Knopfler, che con encomiabile economia di mezzi ha realizzato un'operazione molto simile a quella di Kehlman in soli quattro minuti per i precisetti, la versione live del link ne dura sette.
La canzone parla di due eminenti scienziati inglesi, coevi dei protagonisti del libro, e del loro viaggio nelle colonie americane per dirimere una questione di confini tra possidenti terrieri. I loro nomi erano Charles Mason astronomo e Jeremiah Dixon geografo. Dal loro lavoro americano viene la famosa Mason-Dixon Line, poi arbitrariamente assunta come confine tra stati abolizionisti e schiavisti nella guerra civile americana. Dixon era il rampollo di una famiglia benestante di proprietari di miniere.
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My lifelong love for museums confronted me a lot with Humboldt's expeditions while the only knowledge I had of Gauss goes back to my school days. What intrigued me the most was a sole question - would the author be able to hold my interest. Reading or listening to a biographical novel can be frustrating when the author ventures too far into details.
It's easy to be overwhelmed with too much information. In my opinion, Kehlmann did a decent job.
German Film: Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World)
His story follows both explorers on their quests to measure and understand their world a little better. At some point in the story, I liked Humboldt story arc more, while I enjoyed other times to read about Gauss. Despite learning a lot, I've got to admit that the story has its lengths. However, I liked the engaging way of the author's writing as well as the setting. You can probably tell the story of two explorers with the example of two other people but with setting the story in the time of Enlightenment made it all the more compelling.
I love to think about the fact that people had to conquer many obstacles to see and explore the world while nowadays all you have to do is book a ticket.
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Makes me appreciate the times I live in a little more. All in all, 'Measuring the World' is a great read that I can recommend to fans of historical fiction. I would have also enjoyed the read when I was way younger - maybe I would have even liked school a little more. Nach so langer Zeit, endlich gelesen. Es ist so viel geschrieben worden ueber Kehlmanns "Meisterwerk". Na ja, vom Stuhl gerissen hat es mich am Ende doch nicht so. Wie vielerorts besser beschrieben, geht es um eine, sehr launig geschriebene Doppel-Biografie von Gauss und Alexander Humboldt.
Der andere ist Mathematiker, Physiker und letztlich hat er doch auch als Vermesser begonnen. Beide werden ineffektiv im Nach so langer Zeit, endlich gelesen. Viel Aufhebens wird um Kehlmanns Stil gemacht, der eine ironische Distanz schafft zu den Akteuren, aber auch manchmal etwas zu sallop wirkt.
Insgesamt ein sehr nettes Buch Jul 27, Ken rated it liked it Shelves: Outside of my comfort zone, which sometimes works out and sometimes does not. In this case, a historical novel about a German explorer named Humboldt and a German mathematician and astronomer named Gauss.
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Some chapters you get the explorer more entertaining, if episodic due to the movement in the Americas and some chapters. Brief scenes of interest, but not so gripping after all, and little investment in the characters who are anything but warm, fuzzy types. Rather the s Outside of my comfort zone, which sometimes works out and sometimes does not. Rather the stereotypical Germans instead. One of those "do I continue, or do I give up?
One of those "outside of my comfort zone" books that doesn't work out, at least not to the extent expected. Translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway.
Mar 21, Elahe rated it it was amazing Shelves: Sep 13, Friederike Knabe rated it it was amazing Shelves: I read this back in in English, now in German for a book club. Here is my review.
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It is not uncommon to find fictional accounts of the lives of famous historical figures, nor of encounters between them. Kehlmann's book is unusual in its choice of personalities and in the way in which he creates an entertaining description of the two. In the late eighteenth century, Carl Friedrich Gauss and Alexander von Humboldt had both embarked on the same quest: The two heroes couldn't be more different in character and approach. Gauss believed that "a man alone at his desk" represented the real scientist whereas von Humboldt saw him as a world traveler, collecting the evidence in the field and taking measurements wherever he went.
Basing himself on the historical records of their lives and work, Kehlmann has created a tongue-in-cheek intimate portrait of these two scientific giants of their time. Gauss was a child prodigy from poor lower class background. He became known as the "Prince of Mathematicians" for his mathematical genius and who wrote his major scientific work at the age of His name has been attached to many scientific discoveries including magnetism and astronomy.
Not much is known of his private life, though, except for the bare facts of family and jobs that he had to support himself. He treated many of his scientific deductions as too easy and commonsensical to write about, only to be annoyed when somebody else published something related. Today we would say he was a curmudgeon kind of character. Count von Humboldt, on the other hand, came from a well-off aristocratic family and was spoiled for options what to do with his life. He and brother Wilhelm, a diplomat and linguist, have been a household name then and now, at least in German speaking countries.
Alexander's work as a naturalist and explorer were well publicized during his lifetime. He was the first to explore the geological and botanical diversity of remote regions of Central and Latin America and wrote detailed scientific reports about his findings.