Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

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During the great ages of exploration "the longitude problem" was the greatest of scientific challenges. Lacking the ability to determine their longitude, sailors were literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Ships ran aground on rocky shores; those traveling welt-known routes were easy prey to pirates.

In 1714, England's Parliament offered a huge reward to anyone whose method of measuring longitude could be proven successful. The scientific establishment -- from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton -- had mapped the heavens in its certainty 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. And the race was on.

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LONGITUDE: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

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The subtitle here tells the reader exactly what the book is about; what it doesn't say is how much fun it is to read. The Greek astronomers could measure latitude as early as the third century b.c ... Read full review

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Very good book. I, subsequently, bought a pocket watch after reading the book. Now, I have a fascination for watches and clocks; especially antique.

Contents

Imaginary Lines
1
The Sea Before Time
11
Adrift in a Clockwork Universe
21
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Dava Sobel was born in the Bronx, New York on June 15, 1947. She received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1969. She is a former New York Times science reporter and has contributed articles to Audubon, Discover, Life, Harvard Magazine, and The New Yorker. She has written several science related books including Letters to Father, The Planets, and A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time won the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love won the 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for science and technology and a 2000 Christopher Award. She has co-authored six books with astronomer Frank Drake including Is Anyone Out There? She also co-authored with William J. H. Andrewes The Illustrated Longitude. Because her work provides awareness of science and technology to the general public, she has received the Individual Public Service Award from the National Science Board in 2001, the Bradford Washburn Award in 2001,the Klumpke-Roberts Award in 2008, and the Eduard Rhein Foundation in Germany in 2014.

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