The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time
Publication Date: September 15, 2005
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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.
Dana Sobel is the bestselling author of Longitude, Galileo's Daughter, The Planets, co-author of The Illustrated Longitude, and editor of Letters to Father. She lives in East Hampton, New York.
“A simple tale, brilliantly told.” —Washington Post Book World
“A gem of a book.” —The New York Times
“As much a tale of intrigue as it is of science…for anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clockmaking, and—not the least—plain old human ambition and greed.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“Intricate and elegant…No novelist could improve on the elements of Dava Sobel’s Longitude.” —Newsweek
"A simple tale, brilliantly told."
"A gem of a book."
"For anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clockmaking, and--not the least--plain old human ambition and greed."
"Intricate and elegant…No novelist could improve on the elements of Dava Sobel's Longitude."