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

ISBN13: 9780802715296
ISBN10: 080271529x
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.  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.  Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrisons forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer.  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.

 

Dava Sobel is the bestselling author of Longitude, Galileos Daughter, and The Planets, coauthor of The Illustrated Longitude, and editor of Letters to Father. She lives in East Hampton, New York.

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 has 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 its pursuit of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to image a mechanical solution—a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land.

Longitude is story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking. Through Dava Sobel's consummate skill, Longitude opens many new windows on our world.

"As much a tale of intrigue as it is of science . . . A book full of gems for anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clock making, and—not the least—plain old human ambition and greed."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"As much a tale of intrigue as it is of science . . . A book full of gems for anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clock making, and—not the least—plain old human ambition and greed."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is a gem of a book."—The New York Times

"A simple tale, brilliantly told."—The Washington Post Book World

"Intricate and elegant . . . No novelist could improve on the elements of Dava Sobel's achievement."—Newsweek

"An exquisitely done narrative of the chronometer. It is a wonderful and engrossing achievement."—William F. Buckley, Jr.

"Only someone with Dava Sobel's unusual background in both astronomy and psychology could have written it. Longitude is a wonderful story, wonderfully told."—Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses

"The marine chronometer is a glorious and fascinating object, but it is not a simple one, and its explanation calls for a writer as skilled with words as the watchmakers were with their tools; happily such a writer has been found in Dava Sobel."—Patrick OBrian, author of The Commodore and the Aubrey/Maturin series

Synopsis:

Sobel presents the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of John Harrison's 40-year obsession with building the perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer.

Synopsis:

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.  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.  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.  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.

 

Synopsis:

Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that “the longitude problem” was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the dayand 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.  One man, John Harrison, in complete opposition to the scientific community, dared to imagine a mechanical solutiona clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land.  Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrisons forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer.  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.

 

Dava Sobel is the bestselling author of Longitude, Galileos Daughter, and The Planets, coauthor of The Illustrated Longitude, and editor of Letters to Father. She lives in East Hampton, New York.

Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the dayand 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 has 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 Europefrom Galileo to Sir Isaac Newtonhad mapped the heavens in its pursuit of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to image a mechanical solutiona clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land.

Longitude is story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking. Through Dava Sobel's consummate skill, Longitude opens many new windows on our world.

"As much a tale of intrigue as it is of science . . . A book full of gems for anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clock making, andnot the leastplain old human ambition and greed."The Philadelphia Inquirer

"As much a tale of intrigue as it is of science . . . A book full of gems for anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clock making, andnot the leastplain old human ambition and greed."The Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is a gem of a book."The New York Times

"A simple tale, brilliantly told."The Washington Post Book World

"Intricate and elegant . . . No novelist could improve on the elements of Dava Sobel's achievement."Newsweek

"An exquisitely done narrative of the chronometer. It is a wonderful and engrossing achievement."William F. Buckley, Jr.

"Only someone with Dava Sobel's unusual background in both astronomy and psychology could have written it. Longitude is a wonderful story, wonderfully told."Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses

"The marine chronometer is a glorious and fascinating object, but it is not a simple one, and its explanation calls for a writer as skilled with words as the watchmakers were with their tools; happily such a writer has been found in Dava Sobel."Patrick OBrian, author of The Commodore and the Aubrey/Maturin series

About the Author

Dava Sobel is the bestselling author of Longitude, Galileo's Daughter, and The Planets, coauthor of The Illustrated Longitude, and editor of Letters to Father. She lives in East Hampton, New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

wojoko, January 23, 2013 (view all comments by wojoko)
This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. Until nearly 1800, sailors had no way of determining what longitude they were at so they couldn't tell how far they'd traveled or how close they were to where they wanted to go. While the scientific establishment was focused on astronomy, a watchmaker built the solution and then had to spend years convincing the scientific establishment that his method worked.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Kerensa, September 13, 2011 (view all comments by Kerensa)
A fascinating look into the problem of determining longitude and the drama between astronomers and clock makers in finding a workable solution.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802715296
Author:
Sobel, Dava
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Inventions
Subject:
Navigation
Subject:
Scientists - Inventors
Subject:
History
Subject:
Great britain
Subject:
Longitude -- Measurement -- History.
Subject:
Chronometers -- History.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Biography-Scientists
Subject:
Transportation - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20071131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
color inserts
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
7.34 x 4.67 x 0.6 in

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Related Subjects


Biography » Science and Technology
Engineering » Engineering » Inventions
History and Social Science » Geography » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Transportation » General

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time Used Trade Paper
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$5.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Walker & Company - English 9780802715296 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Sobel presents the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of John Harrison's 40-year obsession with building the perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer.
"Synopsis" by ,
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.  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.  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.  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.

 

"Synopsis" by ,
Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that “the longitude problem” was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the dayand 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.  One man, John Harrison, in complete opposition to the scientific community, dared to imagine a mechanical solutiona clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land.  Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrisons forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer.  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.

 

Dava Sobel is the bestselling author of Longitude, Galileos Daughter, and The Planets, coauthor of The Illustrated Longitude, and editor of Letters to Father. She lives in East Hampton, New York.

Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the dayand 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 has 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 Europefrom Galileo to Sir Isaac Newtonhad mapped the heavens in its pursuit of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to image a mechanical solutiona clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land.

Longitude is story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking. Through Dava Sobel's consummate skill, Longitude opens many new windows on our world.

"As much a tale of intrigue as it is of science . . . A book full of gems for anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clock making, andnot the leastplain old human ambition and greed."The Philadelphia Inquirer

"As much a tale of intrigue as it is of science . . . A book full of gems for anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clock making, andnot the leastplain old human ambition and greed."The Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is a gem of a book."The New York Times

"A simple tale, brilliantly told."The Washington Post Book World

"Intricate and elegant . . . No novelist could improve on the elements of Dava Sobel's achievement."Newsweek

"An exquisitely done narrative of the chronometer. It is a wonderful and engrossing achievement."William F. Buckley, Jr.

"Only someone with Dava Sobel's unusual background in both astronomy and psychology could have written it. Longitude is a wonderful story, wonderfully told."Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses

"The marine chronometer is a glorious and fascinating object, but it is not a simple one, and its explanation calls for a writer as skilled with words as the watchmakers were with their tools; happily such a writer has been found in Dava Sobel."Patrick OBrian, author of The Commodore and the Aubrey/Maturin series

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