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Smoot's Ear: the measure of humanity

Professor Robert Tavernor will mark the launch of his new book Smoot's Ear: the measure of humanity, with an inaugural lecture at LSE on Wednesday 2 May.

Focusing on key moments in art, sculpture, architecture and philosophy in relation to body measures, and on the development of scientific thought that led to the metric system, Robert Tavernor will look beyond the notion that measuring is strictly a scientific activity, divorced from human concerns. Instead, he will set measures and measuring in cultural context to show how deeply they are connected to human experience and history.

In Smoot's Ear (Yale University Press), Robert Tavernor offers a fascinating account of the various measuring systems human beings have devised over two millennia. The book explores changing attitudes toward measure and encompasses the journey of western civilization from the construction of the Great Pyramid to the first manned flight to the moon. Beginning with a review of early measuring standards that referred to the feet and inches of ideal bodies, the book then tracks how Enlightenment interest in a truly scientific system of measure, unconnected to the human form, led to the creation of the metric system.

Robert Tavernor is professor of architecture and urban design and director of the Cities Programme at LSE. He is also a practising architect and leads an influential London-based consultancy, which is currently advising on buildings that will affect the future skyline of London. His previous books include On Alberti and The Art of Building.

Professor Richard Sennett, LSE, will chair this event.

Smoot's Ear: the measure of humanity is on Wednesday 2 May 2007 at 6.30-8pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE, Houghton Street, London WC2A. This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. For more information, email events@lse.ac.uk| or call 020 7955 6043.

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To reserve a press seat, please contact Nadia Awad, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7060 or email pressoffice@lse.ac.uk| 

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