The Longitude Prize by Joan Dash

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A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book

By the start of the eighteenth century, many thousands of sailors had perished at sea because their captains had no way of knowing longitude, their east-west location. Latitude, the north-south position, was easy enough, but once out of sight of land not even the most experienced navigator had a sure method of fixing longitude. So the British Parliament offered a substantial monetary prize to whoever could invent a device to determine exact longitude at sea. Many of the world's greatest minds tried -- and failed -- to come up with a solution. Instead, it was a country clockmaker named John Harrison who would invent a clock that could survive wild seas and be used to calculate longitude accurately. But in an aristocratic society, the road to acceptance was not a smooth one, and even when Harrison produced not one but five elegant, seaworthy timekeepers, each an improvement on the one that preceded it, claiming the prize was another battle. Set in an exciting historical framework -- telling of shipwrecks and politics -- this is the story of one man's creative vision, his persistence against great odds, and his lifelong fight for recognition of a brilliant invention.

About Joan Dash

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Joan Dash lives in Seattle, Washington. She is also the author of We Shall Not Be Moved: The Women's Factory Strike of 1909. Dusan Petricic is a well-known editorial artist and illustrator of children's books. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Published October 13, 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 208 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Computers & Technology, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math. Fiction

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To aid sailors, the British government offered the Longitude Prize, an enormous sum of £20,000 (an amount equal to $12 million today), to the inventor of a device that would determine longitude “that shall have been Tried and found Practicable and useful at Sea.” Harrison met the challenge with h...

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Dash (We Shall Not Be Moved) pens an engrossing tale of the scientific contest for the Longitude Prize, which was offered through a 1714 act of the British Parliament in response to the devastating lo

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Publishers Weekly

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Without means for determining longitude, ""English ships had been sailing everywhere in the Western world, relying on charts and maps that often had little relation to reality."" The Parliament establishes the prize for ""any device or invention for determining longitude"" with a reward ""roughly...

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