The Great ARC: A Dramatic Tale of Science and Adventure

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9780060195182: The Great ARC: A Dramatic Tale of Science and Adventure

A vivid description of one of the most ambitious scientific projects undertaken in the 19th century, and the men who undertook the measurement of the Himalayas and the mapping of the Indian subcontinent: William Lambton and George Everest.

The graphic story of the measurement of a meridian, or longitudinal, arc extending from the tip of the Indian subcontinent to the mountains of the Himalayas.

Much the longest such measurement hitherto made, it posed horrendous technical difficulties, made impossible physical demands on the survey parties (jungle, tigers, mountains etc.), and took over 50 years. But the scientific results were commensurate, including the discovery of the world’s highest peaks and a new calculation of the curvature of the earth’s surface.

The Indian Mutiny of 1857 triggered a massive construction of roads, railways, telegraph lines and canals throughout India: all depended heavily on the accuracy of the maps which the Great Arc had made possible.

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About the Author:

John Keay is an author and broadcaster specialising in Asian history and current affairs. His other books include (in addition to his HarperCollins backlist above): Into India, When Men and Mountains Meet, Eccentric Travellers and Explorers Extraordinary. He lives with his wife Julia in Argyll, Scotland.

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Keay, John
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2000. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "The Great Arc The Dramatic Tale Of How India Was Mapped And Everest Was Named The Great Indian Arc of the Meridian, begun in 1800, was the longest measurement of the earth's surface ever to have been attempted. Its 1,600 miles of inch-perfect survey took nearly fifty years, cost more lives than most contemporary wars, and involved equations more complex than any in the precomputer age. Rightly hailed as "one of the most stupendous works in the history of science, " it was also one of the most perilous. Through hill and jungle, flood and fever, an intrepid band of surveyors carried the Arc from the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent up into the frozen wastes of the Himalayas. William Lambton, an impossible martinet, completed it. Both found the technical difficulties horrendous. With instruments weighing a half-ton, their observations often had to be conducted from flimsy platforms ninety feet above the ground or form mountain peaks enveloped in blizzard. Malaria wiped out whole surbey parties; tigers and scorpions also took their toll. Yet the results were commensurate. The Great Arc made possible the mapping of the entire Indian sub-continent and teh development of its roads, railways and telegraphs. India as we now know it was defined in the process. The Arc also resulted in the first accurate measurements of the Himalayas, an achievement that was acknowledged by the naming of the world's highest mountain in honor. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0060195185

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