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The measurement of the area of the earth's surface, taking into account irregularities caused by hills, valleys, etc., could be accomplished by completely covering the surface with uniform spherical objects of known cross-sectional area. From the number of such spheres, the required area could then be computed. If spherical objects were not available, irregular, oblong objects, such as bowling pins, could be used, if they were all oriented in some particular configuration.
Ewing, Warren W.
Professor of Physical Chemistry, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.