During the great age of exploration, the "longitude problem" was the gravest of scientific challenges. Without the ability to determine longitude, ...Show synopsisDuring the great age of exploration, the "longitude problem" was the gravest of scientific challenges. Without the ability to determine longitude, sailors and their ships were lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. In 1714, desperate for a solution, England's Parliament offered 20,000 pounds (the equivalent of millions of dollars today) to anyone who could solve the problem. With all the skill and storytelling ability of a great novelist, Dava Sobel captures the dramatic story at the heart of this epic scientific quest.Hide synopsis
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This is an account of the development of a navigational tool we've all taken for granted
for years. We all assume this capability has been around for centuries. No so, and this
author makes the inventor's story a real page-turner. This little gem should be required reading for everyone!!!
A quick scan of the cover does not begin to describe the contents of this little gem. On the surface, it appears to be just an another historical trek down science lane but once you begin reading Sobel's tale you realize she is spinning a very real story of intrigue.
Just discovering the background of John Harrison alone makes you marvel at how he could had solved such a complex problem. Then add in the fact that the most learned astronomical thinkers of the time were in competition with him is where the intrigue of this tale begins.
Sobel keeps the technical aspects of this story simple to read and understand and concentrates on the historical facts and the struggle Harrison waged to prove himself.
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