Longitude

Longitude

Hardback

By (author) Dava Sobel

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  • Publisher: FOURTH ESTATE LTD
  • Format: Hardback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 120mm x 182mm x 21mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 27 February 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0007559364
  • ISBN 13: 9780007559367
  • Edition statement: Special Anniversary Edition
  • Sales rank: 292,720

Product description

In the tercentenary year of the Longitude Act, Fourth Estate present an anniversary edition of Dana Sobel's bestselling history of an epic scientific quest and the unlikely triumph of an English genius. With an introduction by Neil Armstrong. 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. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical 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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Author information

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.

Review quote

'Perhaps the most famous book about getting lost since "The Odyssey".' Sunday Telegraph 'An extraordinary tale of political intrigue and academic back-biting, of intellectual brilliance, and mechanical genius, of heroic endeavours and downright dishonesty ... a superb achievement.' Spectator '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 'This brief history of time is a fine tribute to a man who changed the world.' Irish Times 'Dava Sobel has written a gem of a book ... one of the best reads for the non-scientific to come along for many a moon.' Financial Times