Republished to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this bestselling book, now with a new introduction by Neil Armstrong, ‘Longitude’ is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest: the search for the solution to how to calculate longitude and the unlikely triumph of an English genius.
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 (£20,000) 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.
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When Dava Sobel's Longitude was published to universal acclaim in 1996, readers voiced only one regret: that it was not illustrated. Now William Andrewes, the man who organised and hosted the Longitude Symposium that inspired her book, has joined Sobel to create a richly illustrated version of her classic story.
The Illustrated Longitude recounts in words and images the epic quest to solve the world's thorniest scientific problem of the 17th and 18th centuries. Throughout the great age of exploration, sailors attempted to navigate the oceans without any means of measuring their longitude. All too often, voyages ended in total disaster when both crew and cargo were captured or lost upon the rocks of an unexpected landfall. Thousands of lives and fortunes of seafaring nations hung on a resolution.
To encourage a solution, governments established major prizes for anyone whose method or device proved successful. The largest reward, of £20,000, was offered by the British Parliament in 1714. The scientific establishment--from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton--had been certain that a celestial answer would be found and invested untold effort in this pursuit. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, imagined and built the unimaginable: a clock that solved the problem by keeping precise time at sea, today called the chronometer. His trials and tribulations to win the prize throughout a 40-year obsession are the culmination of this remarkable story.Review:
‘Perhaps the most famous book about getting lost since “The Odyssey”.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘An extraordinary tale of political intrigue and academic back-biting, of intellectual brilliance, and mechanical genius, of heroic endeavours and downright dishonesty...a superb achievement.’ Spectator
‘This brief history of time is a fine tribute to a man who changed the world.’ Irish Times
‘Dava Sobel has written a gem of a book...one of the best reads for the non-scientific to come along for many a moon.’ Financial Times
‘In an enthralling gem of a book, Sobel spins an amazing tale of political intrigue, foul play, scientific discovery and personal ambition.’ Publishers’ Weekly
‘A true life thriller, jam-packed with political intrigue, international warfare, personal feuds and financial skullduggery.’ Daily Mail
‘Rarely have I enjoyed a book as much as Dava Sobel's Longitude. She has an extraordinary gift of making difficult ideas clear.’ Daily Telegraph
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Book Description FOURTH ESTATE (HCOL), 2005. Book Condition: Very Good. 10th Anniversary Ed. N/A. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP82982496
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Longitude This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780007214464
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR002940330