The True Story of A Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
Sobel, Dava (Book - 2007)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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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.nbsp; 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.nbsp; Thousands of lives and the increasing fortunes of nations hung on a resolution.nbsp; One man, John Harrison, in complete opposition to the scientific community, 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.nbsp; Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer.nbsp; Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking, and opens a new window on our world. nbsp;
Authors: Sobel, Dava
Title: Longitude
the true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time
Publisher: New York : Walker, 2007
Characteristics: xiv, 184 p. :,col. ill., ports. ;,19 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Dava Sobel ; with a foreword by Neil Armstrong
ISBN: 9780802715296
Branch Call Number: 526.62 S677L 2007
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index
Subject Headings: Longitude Research History Horology Astronomical clocks England History Clock and watch makers England Biography Harrison, John, 1693-1776
Topical Term: Longitude
Astronomical clocks
Clock and watch makers
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Sep 30, 2013
  • library1172 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was an interesting and enjoyable read.

Mar 05, 2013
  • ClaireM_W rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book, thinking it would merely be "good for me". What a pleasure to be so wrong! Wonderful, personal writing of a significant story. Bonus : now I understand about longitudes.

Nov 04, 2012
  • macierules rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A good account of a fascinating story - wish it had been more compelling. I wish it was a novel.

Sep 05, 2012
  • johnami rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A brief, but precise account of the search for and discovery of a method for measuring longitude. The portrait of John Harrison (24 March 1693 – 24 March 1776) who developed the instrument for the task, is fascinating. He was a driven, brilliant man, capable of conquering the most complex obstacles. Under-appreciated in his time, his obsessiveness and awkward communication skills did not help to advance his cause or his unique genius. Although a commonplace issue today, assessing longitude was once a bane to the shipping industry and truly a matter of life and death. Not surprisingly, politics and greed delayed the solution and the recognition John Harrison deserved during his lifetime.


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