Longitude : The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time
On its 10th anniversary, a gift edition of this classic book, with a forward by one of history's greatest explorers, and eight pages of color illustrations.
Anyone alive in the eighteeth century would have known that "the logitude 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 Issac 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 percise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land. Longitude is a dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and 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.
Dava Sobel has written a gem of a book...one of the best reads for the non-scientific writing to come along for many a moon." Financial Times "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
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.