Longitude by Dava Sobel
The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

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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. 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 scientific establishment of 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-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.

About Dava Sobel

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Dava Sobel is an award-winning former science reporter for the New York Times and writes frequently about science for several magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Life, and Omni. She lives in East Hampton, New York. Arthur C. Klein is a survey designer and market research specialist. He is the best-selling co-author of Backache Relief, Arthritis: What Works, and Arthritis: What Exercises Work. He lives in East Hampton, New York.
Published July 5, 2010 by Walker Books. 191 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Young Adult, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, History, Literature & Fiction, Travel, Computers & Technology. Non-fiction

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Comparing the chronometer's time to local sun time, a navigator could measure longitude with high precision in short order.

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Publishers Weekly

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This look at the scientific quest to find a way for ships at sea to determine their longitude was a PW bestseller for eight weeks.

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Publishers Weekly

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But Britain's Board of Longitude, a panel of scientists, naval officers and government officials, favored the astronomers over humble ``mechanics'' like Harrison, who received only a portion of the prize after decades of struggle.

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Los Angeles Times

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Here's a swell little book that tells an amazing story that is largely forgotten today but that deserves to be remembered.

Nov 24 1995 | Read Full Review of Longitude: The True Story of ...


But writer-director Charles Sturridge, expanding on a brief section of Sobel's book, also tells the parallel story of Rupert Gould (Irons), a former naval officer troubled by mental illness, who dedicated himself to restoring Harrison's original sea clocks in the 20th century.

Jul 10 2000 | Read Full Review of Longitude: The True Story of ...

London Review of Books

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With: Jonathan Coy, Christopher Hodsell, Clare Moody, Clare McCarron, Peter Cartwright, John Nettleton, Nigel Davenport, Liam Jennings, Joe Williams, Geoffrey Hutchings, David Wood, Mark Tandy, Tobias Menzies, Robert Demeger, Sophie Millett, Sarah Badel, Stephen Simms, Cliff Parisi, Rupert Baker,...

Jul 04 2000 | Read Full Review of Longitude: The True Story of ...

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