Longitude : The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time

Author(s): Dava Sobel

Popular Science

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. 'Sobel has done the impossible and made horology sexy - no mean feat' New Scientist Anyone alive in the 18th century would have known that 'the longitude 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 quest for a solution had occupied scientists and their patrons for the better part of two centuries when, in 1714, Parliament upped the ante by offering a king's ransom (GBP20,000) to anyone whose method or device proved successful. Countless quacks weighed in with preposterous suggestions. The scientific establishment throughout Europe - from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton - had mapped the heavens in both hemispheres in its certain pursuit of a celestial answer. solution. Full of heroism and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd, LONGITUDE is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation and clockmaking.


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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.

General Fields

  • : 9780007214228
  • : HarperCollins Publishers
  • : HarperPerennial
  • : November 2004
  • : 197mm X 130mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : July 2005
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 10th Anniversary Edition
  • : en
  • : 681.118
  • : 183
  • : Dava Sobel
  • : Paperback