With a Foreword by Neil Armstrong. As Dava Sobel relates in her engaging narrative, "Longitude," until the 18th century sailors navigated by following parallels of latitude and roughly estimating distance traveled east or west. It established the Board of Longitude and offered a prize of 20,000 pounds to anyone who could find a simple and practical method for … In Longitude, Dava Sobel chronicles the world's quest to tame time. Swiss wrist watch for him. There was an error retrieving your Wish Lists. He was one of just two survivors who washed ashore, after their fleet hit the rocks of Scilly and more than two thousand men went to their watery graves in just minutes. Daily Mail "Rarely have I enjoyed a book as much as Dava Sobel's Longitude. First published in 1995 and nominated for the 1997 Royal Society Science Book Prize, the book tells the story of one scientist’s lifelong journey to … To win the full prize, the method or device had. Trade Paperback. As it was it very much felt like a summary or an abstract rather than the meat of a true historical account, with a sense of disconnect from the events described. Longitude is west to east, east to west. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, Paperback – Illustrated, November 5, 2007. Published by Fourth Estate 05/09/2005 (2005) ISBN 10: 0007214464 ISBN 13: 9780007214464. The analysis of Harrison's clocks is far more focused on the decorations of their faces than on his novel engineering. Her books include Longitude, about English clockmaker John Harrison, and Galileo's Daughter, about Galileo's daughterMaria Celeste. Photo by Ragesoss (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu. He was Sir Clowdisley, the admiral of the tragic fleet, and he had mistakenly steered his ships to disaster. This is a book about a self-taught village clock-maker who created a whole new breed of amazingly precise chronometers, which enable the accurate measurement of longitude, and the fight he had with astronomers to get his solution recognised (and rewarded). In 1714 the British Parliament set a £20,000 reward for whoever could solve the problem. "Rarely have I enjoyed a book as much as Dava Sobel's Longitude. He made numerous chronometers and many of them may be seen in the Royal Observatory and other places in England. There are no illustrations in a book that screams. Interesting review of the tale toward discovering a correct way to measure longitude for a ship at sea. In the tradition of praising people whose work made it possible to do things a little better - in this case navigate across seas using a map. Unitil the mid 1700s the world lacked the science to know where ships were at sea - with often tragic results. The thorniest scientific problem of the day had occupied scientists and their patrons for the better part of two centuries until John Harrison dared to imagine a mechanical solution. Lacking the ability to measure longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea. But I found it intriguing and educational. I have favorable recollections of the book, and I found it to be in interesting story. If the sky was clear, the 'clock of the heavens' helped determine the position. It also describes his primary competitor and adversary, Nevil Maskelyne, who was keen on proving that the best approach involved astronomical readings. Thanks to GPS, we can forget that calculating longitude without the help of a network of satellites is difficult and requires great mathematical and engineering expertise. Consequently it did not deal much with the details either of the astronomical or mechanical approaches to solving the problem of finding longitude on the high seas. Thousands of lives and the increasing fortunes of nations hung on a resolution. There was a problem loading your book clubs. The trials of Harrison, and the jealously of others in his attempts made for a good story.. High stakes (both in terms of the potential benefits to be had from being able to use longitude, and in terms of the reward value placed on finding a solution), but while the author keeps on reminding us that it's very important, and telling us that his struggles with the politics of the board who were supposed to award the reward were very severe, I generally felt underwhelmed by the story, or maybe the way it was being told and structured. Longitude is a wonderful story, wonderfully told.” ―Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses“The marine chronometer is a glorious and fascinating object, but it is not a simple one, and its explanation calls for a writer as skilled with words as the watchmakers were with their tools; happily such a writer has been found in Dava Sobel.” ―Patrick O'Brian, author of The Commodore and the Aubrey/Maturin series. The subject's work product is and has been well known and studied at length, but there are not enough details about the technology included in this book. As it was it very much felt like a summary or an abstract rather than the meat of a true historical account, with a s. Maybe Longitude suffered by comparison with my previous read, Amir Alexander's Infinitesimal, but this book felt very light and frothy. Determining a position requires much more sophisticated astronomical measurement and calculation. Bloomsbury USA; First edition (November 5, 2007), Reviewed in the United States on December 21, 2016. She traces the arc of his career, and details the innovations of each of his subsequent entries (H1-H5) Unfortunately, even though his Chronometers repeatedly proved their worth in Sea trial after sea trial, and the watch quickly gained adherents among sea captains, Harrison was thwarted at every turn in his attempt to claim the prize. The shipwreck of Sir Shovell's fleet, the fact that longitude was impossible to determine, and the term "bimetallic" is the limit of the author's analytical depth in this book. If the sky was overcast, an accurate clock was needed on board. What a let-down. It has also been criticized as a romantic fantasy. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Really lovely and very interesting reading. The cause of this catastrophe was the inability to determine longitude, a problem that beset mariners everywhere. As most innovation of great magnitude, it was a self-appointed task, completely by. To quote an esteemed LC history professor on the technical difficulties of pre-modern navigational technology: "Nowadays, you'd refer to that as being lost. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in, $12.35 Shipping & Import Fees Deposit to France. I remember visiting Royal Museums Greenwich in London with my children several years ago. People who like science, or nautical themes, In Longitude, Dava Sobel chronicles the world's quest to tame time. The rate of tec. Refresh and try again. Or, it requires very accurate measurement of time. Unfortunately, the people involved are history's greatest astronomers and physicists. Daily Telegraph show more. No diagrams to explain the text where it would assist the reader. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 4, 2017. .orange-text-color {font-weight:bold; color: #FE971E;}Ask Alexa to read your book with Audible integration or text-to-speech. Well, clearly we didn't as Dava Sobel's magnificent history book/scientific exposition is an account of how one lone genius went and solved the most gigantic scientific dilemma of his era (no, not why Cornflakes go soggy after you… Yeah, we know. Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2017. 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. Reviewed in the United States on December 25, 2019. The focus then shifts to a biography of John Harrison, the 18th century clockmaker who attempted to solve this problem based on timekeeping. George III asked that a special act of Parliament be passed and Harrison finally received his prize. 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. This book was intended for the general reader. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. The Greek astronomers could measure latitude as early as the third century b.c., but more than 2,000 years passed before the development of a reliable method for measuring longitude. While the story is itself fascinating, Dava Sobel is a poor writer and the book reads something like a high school textbook. Along the way, the author highlights some of the more outlandish ideas, one of which involves barking dogs! He was one of just two survivors who washed ashore, after their fleet hit the rocks of Scilly and more than two thousand men went to their watery graves in just minutes. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. It's short and informative but actually quite on the dry side. Really fun! Not told in a fictionalized sense at all, but more a recital of fact, placements, and progression. This book is a fascinating history of the development of a mechanical chronometer. Not told in a fictionalized sense at all, but more a recital of fact, placements, and progression. About this Item: Harper Perennial, London, UK, 2011. They and many others vied for the monetary prize offered by the British government. It had never occurred to me how different latitude and longitude are. This book was intended for the general reader. A former staff science reporter for The New York Times, she has also written for numerous magazines, including Discover, Harvard Magazine, Smithsonian, and The New Yorker.Her most unforgettable assignment at the Times required her to live 25 days as a research subject in the chronophysiology lab at Montefiore Hospital, where the boarded-up windows and specially trained technicians kept her from knowing whether it was day outside or night.Her work has won recognition from the National Science Board, which gave her its 2001 Individual Public Service Award "for fostering awareness of science and technology among broad segments of the general public." Used. Her books include Longitude, about English clockmaker John Harrison, and Galileo's Daughter, about Galileo's daughter Maria Celeste, and The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. Financial Times "A true life thriller, jam-packed with political intrigue, international warfare, personal feuds and financial skullduggery." An amazing man, John Harrison, worked tirelessly to conquer the problem. Please try your request again later. The dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest: the search for the solution of how to calculate longitude and the unlikely triumph of an English genius. It would do well to be required reading in our schools actually as there's so much to be gained in perspective of application of science and history. Until reading this book, I did not know that a problem existed determining where a ship was situated longitudinally. Inferior seamen were not allowed to keep their own calculations of maritime reckoning, not in 1707. She was previously married to Arthur C. Klein. With Jeremy Irons, Anna Chancellor, Emma Kay, Samuel West. Latitude - 'the parallels' - had always been relatively simple to measure. “He wrested the world's whereabouts from the stars, and locked the secret in a pocket watch.”, “Time is to clock as mind is to brain. Enjoy a great reading experience when you buy the Kindle edition of this book. A beachcomber found the bedraggled officer...and immediately murdered him for the ring on his finger. The first several chapters describe the difficulties encountered by ships attempting to navigate solely based on latitude. She is a writer, known for Nova (1974), Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude (1998) and Longitude (2000). Cart I can't remember if I read the book first or saw the television series first, but some combination of the two was like a long, calm, very safe ocean voyage. Shortly after people discovered that the world was round and wanted to sail around it, they realized that they had no way of telling how far they'd gone and how close they were to where they wanted to be, as opposed to how close they were to the Bermuda Triangle, for example, or the giant pointy sneak-attack rocks that were about to sink their ship. for such things. In particular Sobel highlights John Harrison's pursuit of the prize. For the longest time, no accurate clock existed. This is an extremely disappointing read. Also, really short! 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. About Dava Sobel. Perhaps the author feels the story of Longitude should focus on people instead of engineering. The Board of Longitude, which would be primarily comprised of astronomers, was set up to award the money. Even when the bulbs of the hourglass shatter, when darkness withholds the shadow from the sundial, when the mainspring winds down so far that the clock hands hold still as death, time itself keeps on. On October 22, 1707 four English warships crashed into the rocks of the Scilly Isles southwest of England. Dava Sobel (born June 15, 1947) is the author of Longitude, Galileo's Daughter, The Planets, and A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos. It established the Board of Longitude and offered a prize of 20,000 pounds to anyone who could find a simple and practical method for the precise determination of a ship's longitude. They quickly sank killing 2,000 men. Please try again. The clock maker who succeeded with that bio-metal strip that did not alter the time by expansion or shrinking of the components became part of the key. I get that Dava Sobel was writing for a general audience and that I'm a scientist by training, but I would have really appreciated a few more sources or direct quotes from source texts and letters to connect with the historical figures described. Dava Sobel, Writer: Nova. She has an extraordinary gift of making difficult ideas clear." Ships routinely missed their destinations, often taking excessive time to arrive or succumbing to reefs off fogbound shores. There is much wholly detail about early efforts to solve the Longitude problem. It established the Board of Longitude and offered a prize of 20,000 pounds to anyone who could find a simple and practical method for the precise determination of a ship's longitude. From: Bahamut Media (Reading, United Kingdom) Seller Rating: Add to Basket £ 2.72. An amazing man, John Harrison, worked tirelessly to conquer the problem. But they are every bit as exciting and important. Condition: Fine. I take GPS for granted. 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