Longitude (Paperback)
  • Longitude (Paperback)

Longitude (Paperback)

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Paperback Published: 05/09/2005
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The tenth anniversary edition of the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest: the search for the solution of how to calculate longitude and the unlikely triumph of an English genius. With a new Foreword by the celebrated astronaut Neil Armstrong. 'Sobel has done the impossible and made horology sexy - no mean feat' New Scientist 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. Thousands of lives, and the increasing fortunes of nations, hung on a resolution. The quest for a solution had occupied scientists and their patrons for the better part of two centuries when, in 1714, Parliament upped the ante by offering a king's ransom (GBP20,000) to anyone whose method or device proved successful. Countless quacks weighed in with preposterous suggestions. The scientific establishment throughout Europe - from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton - 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. Full of heroism and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd, LONGITUDE is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation and clockmaking.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780007214228

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Back in the 18th century, the 'Longitude Problem' was the most taxing scientific issue of the time since, without the ability to adequately calculate longitude, sailors were effectively doomed to be... More

Paperback edition
22nd February 2013
Helpful? Upvote 4


This is a great little read that tells of the quest for a way to determine longitude when out on the open ocean and the conflicts, debates and arguements that went with it. It focuses on a man called John Harrison a... More

Paperback edition
8th May 2012
Helpful? Upvote 4

“Fascinating, but dry”

Finding the latitude in the 17th century was straightforward, but finding the longitude was extremely difficult. This compromised the safety of all seafarers, and in one particular incident around 200 lives were lost... More

Paperback edition
21st August 2013
Helpful? Upvote 1

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