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Longitude : the true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time

Author: Dava Sobel
Publisher: New York : Walker, 2007.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Anyone alive in the eighteenth 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. Thousands of lives, and the increasing fortunes of nations, hung on a resolution. The quest  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: John Harrison; John Harrison
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Dava Sobel
ISBN: 080271529X 9780802715296
OCLC Number: 183660066
Description: xiv, 184 p. : col. ill., ports. ; 19 cm.
Contents: Foreword / Neil Armstrong --
Imaginary lines --
The sea before time --
Adrift in a clockwork universe --
Time in a bottle --
Powder of sympathy --
The prize --
Cog maker's journal --
The grasshopper goes to sea --
Hands on Heaven's clock --
The diamond timekeeper --
Trial by fire and water --
A tale of two portraits --
The second voyage of Captain James Cook --
The mass production of genius --
In the meridian courtyard.
Responsibility: Dava Sobel ; with a foreword by Neil Armstrong.

Abstract:

Anyone alive in the eighteenth 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. Thousands of lives, and the increasing fortunes of nations, hung on a resolution. The quest for a solution had occupied scientists for the better part of two centuries when, in 1714, England's parliament upped the ante by offering a king's ransom (£20,000, or approximately $12 million in today's currency) to anyone whose method or device proved successful and reproducible. The scientific establishment throughout Europe -- from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton -- had mapped the heavens in it 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 ever been able to do on land" --Cover, p. 2.

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