Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
During the great ages of exploration, "the longitude problem" was the gravest of all 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 well-known routes... show more
During the great ages of exploration, "the longitude problem" was the gravest of all 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 well-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....
Publish date: October 1st 1996
Pages no: 184
Edition language: English
A short, fascinating book about a topic that you wouldn't think all that interesting - longitude. The book looks at the historical challenge for sailors not being able to figure out what their longitude was while at sea, and the contest for scientists (or clockmakers as it turns out) to come up with...
In the 18th century, plenty of ships were lost at sea due to not knowing their longitude and either going massively off course, or hitting rocks and islands that appeared when sailors had veered off course.The quest to find a means around this led to a large bounty being offered by various heads of ...
A lovely account about timekeeping. I'm easily obsessed with old machines and especially clocks and watches, so, yeah, I like it.
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 of the Isles of Scilly.The admiralty of the day decided to set up a Longitude board...
I can't remember if I read the book first or saw the television series first, but some combination of the two was like a long, calm, very safe ocean voyage.