Sobel, Dava Longitude

ISBN 13: 9780001053373

Longitude

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9780001053373: Longitude

Anyone alive in the 18th century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day - and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. The quest for a solution had occupied scientists, and their patrons for the better part of two centuries when, in 1714, England's Parliament upped the ante by offering a king's ransom to anyone whose method or device proved successful. The scientific establishment throughout Europe had mapped the heavens in both hemispheres in its certain pursuit of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution - a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had been able to do on land. This work tells the story of this epic scientific quest, and of Harrison's 40-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. It also provides a brief history of astronomy, navigation and clockmaking.

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Review:

Dava Sobel's Longitude tells the story of how 18th-century scientist and clockmaker William Harrison solved one of the most perplexing problems of history--determining east-west location at sea. This lush, colorfully illustrated edition adds lots of pictures to the story, giving readers a more satisfying sense of the times, the players, and the puzzle. This was no obscure, curious difficulty--without longitude, ships often found themselves so far off course that sailors would starve or die of scurvy before they could reach port. When a nationally-sponsored contest offered a hefty cash prize to the person who could develop a method to accurately determine longitude, the race was on. In the end, the battle of accuracy--and wills--fought between Harrison and arch-rival Maskelyne was ruthless and dramatic, worthy of a Hollywood feature film. Longitude's story is surprising and fascinating, offering a window into the past, before Global Positioning Satellites made it look easy. --Therese Littleton

Review:

The thorniest scientific problem of the eighteenth century was how to determine longitude. Many thousands of lives had been lost at sea over the centuries due to the inability to determine an east-west position. This is the engrossing story of the clockmaker, John "Longitude" Harrison, who solved the problem that Newton and Galileo had failed to conquer, yet claimed only half the promised rich reward.

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Sobel, Dava
Published by HarperCollins (1996)
ISBN 10: 000105337X ISBN 13: 9780001053373
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Book Description HarperCollins, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. This is a audio copy of this book, all cassettes present. We sell high quality books at reasonable prices, shipped regularly from the UK. We are part of the Petersfield Bookshop who are members of the ABA, ILAB and PBFA. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000005814

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Book Description Penquin 1995. Softcover, 183 pp. Owner's name, otherwise like new.adaaintM9.{Philosophy of science}. Bookseller Inventory # PbengPe936

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