When my dad went to college back in 1958, my grandma spent a small fortune to buy a 17-jewel (or was it 11?) You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition. I loved this book! The analysis of Harrison's clocks is far more focused on the decorations of their faces than on his novel engineering. The Board of Longitude, which would be primarily comprised of astronomers, was set up to award the money. 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). An amazing book following the attempts to solve the longitudinal navigation problems. 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. Numerous attentive readers took the trouble to write to me to point out typos or other errors in the text, which the … It shows that John Harrison was like the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (central character in the movie "The man who knew infinity") in that he was poor and therefore self educated. The cause of this catastrophe was the inability to determine longitude, a problem that beset mariners everywhere. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. 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. It would do well to be required reading in our schools actually as there's so much to be gained in perspective. The subtitle here tells the reader exactly what the book is about; what it doesn't say is how much fun it is to read. Refresh and try again. It has also been criticized as a romantic fantasy. Had he resisted the urge to build a better clock before claiming the prize, he would have won the prize out right. Sextant: A Young Man's Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who Mapped the World's Oceans, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. I was left hoping for more detail and depth. Swiss wrist watch for him. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. This book was intended for the general reader. Please try again. To see what your friends thought of this book, Just finished it and really enjoyed it. Especially interesting was the English contest for solving the problem. The rate of technological advancement is extraordinary over a long period of time because it's exponential. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. A 1964 graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Ms. Sobel attended Antioch College and the City College of New York before receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1969. I was left hoping for more detail and depth, Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2017. That thing will probably be off only a couple of minutes a year. 0 Reviews. Dava Sobel, Writer: Nova. But I found it intriguing and educational. Dava Sobel. Adjusted for inflation, this second watch is probably cheaper. There was an error retrieving your Wish Lists. 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." This shopping feature will continue to load items when the Enter key is pressed. The first several chapters describe the difficulties encountered by ships attempting to navigate solely based on latitude. 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. 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. But I found it intriguing and educational. Latitude - 'the parallels' - had always been relatively simple to measure. It had never occurred to me how different latitude and longitude are. High stakes (both in terms of the potential benefits to be had from being able to use longitude, and in terms of the reward. 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. It’s worth a read but will end up at our local charity shop. 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. Longitude. Longitude book by Dava Sobel Reviewed by Rodford Edmiston. Longitude. Which is a shame, as the events are fascinating! It had never occurred to me how different latitude and longitude are. For the longest time, no accurate clock existed. A 1964 graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Ms. Sobel attended Antioch College and the City College of New York before receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1969. Th. The kingdoms of Enlightenment Europe were basically racing against each other to find a way to calculate longitude that worked better than eyeballing the north star with a sextant on a pitching deck, which pretty much didn't work at all. She also received the 2004 Harrison Medal from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in England and the 2008 Klumpke-Roberts Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for "increasing the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. Find all the books, read about the author, and more. In 1714 the British Parliament set a £20,000 reward for whoever could solve the problem. 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. Sobel does a really good job of bringing her material to life and communicating information in a delightful way, and hearing Neil Armstrong's Intro was pretty cool, too. 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. Enjoy a great reading experience when you buy the Kindle edition of this book. Former New York Times reporter Sobel (coauthor, Arthritis: What Works, 1989, etc.) Thousands of lives, and the increasing fortunes of. Walker & Company (first … Longitude: the True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel. They quickly sank killing 2,000 men. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. This one is all about the late 18th century watch maker, John Harrison, who builds a series of highly accurate watches in an attempt to win a prize for a device to be able to establish longitude at sea. Unable to add item to List. 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. I don’t use it that much personally, because I don’t tend to go anywhere, but I’m sure all this technology I love to use makes use of GPS. But they actually thought they could get somewhere." Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in, $12.35 Shipping & Import Fees Deposit to France. Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Non-fiction about the quest to develop a reliable method for measuring longitude. Dava Sobel (born June 15, 1947, The Bronx, New York) is an American writer of popular expositions of scientific topics. Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The author treats the difficulties Harrison encountered convincing the Board of Longitude of the efficacy of his devices as a matter of petty politics and egotism without offering the reader suffici. To win the full prize, the method or device had. Microhistory: Social Histories of Just One Thing, Noble Obsession Charles Goodyear, Thomas Hancock, and the Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the Nineteenth Centur, Noble Obsession Charles Goodyear, Thomas Hancock, and the Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the Nineteenth Century, [Poll Book Tally] Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Great Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel 3 stars, [Poll Ballot] Longitude by Dava Sobel - 4 stars, Longitude:The True Story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time by Dava Sobel 4 stars, [Listopia] Longitude: the true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time – Dava Sobel - 4 stars, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Shares His Reading Recommendations. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. 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." About Dava Sobel. Instead, he ended up competing head-on with a lunar distance technique created by people favored by the committee that oversaw the giving of the prize money. Swiss wrist watch for him. https://www.waterstones.com/book/longitude/dava-sobel/9780007214228 I do not recommend it. Although latitude is fixed by the earth and Columbus could sail a "straight line" in 1492 relative to a fixed latitudinal parallel, longitude made sailors feel they were on a train and looking at another train, trying to determine which one just began moving. 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. Thank you to my daughter who bought this for me at her school’s book sale. She was previously married to Arthur C. Klein. As Sobel himself says, it is written as an informative not an academic book and it succeeds well. The cause of this catastrophe was the inability to determine longitude, a problem that beset mariners everywhere. Yeah, we know. In particular Sobel highlights John Harrison's pursuit of the prize. Likewise, if you're expecting a a blow-by-blow account of his inventions and dealings with the Board of Longitude, you are also going to be disappointed. She has an extraordinary gift of making difficult ideas clear." The inventor of the first true chronometer should be better known. 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. Start by marking “Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time” as Want to Read: Error rating book. He was barely conscious but alive. The most we can hope a watch to do is mark that progress. Not told in a fictionalized sense at all, but more a recital of fact, placements, and progression. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time" tells the remarkable story of the clock's inventor, John Harrison. He made numerous chronometers and many of them may be seen in the Royal Observatory and other places in England. 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." Inferior seamen were not allowed to keep their own calculations of maritime reckoning, not in 1707. Longitude by Dava Sobel. Until reading this book, I did not know that a problem existed determining where a ship was situated longitudinally. On October 22, 1707 four English warships crashed into the rocks of the Scilly Isles southwest of England. Perhaps the author feels the story of Longitude should focus on people instead of engineering. Jealous rivals on the board used their influence to change the rules of the contest multiple times. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of … Dava Sobel (born June 15, 1947) is an American writer of popular expositions of scientific topics. 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 . The focus then shifts to a biography of John Harrison, the 18th century clockmaker who attempted to solve this problem based on timekeeping. Karma had the last laugh, as the Admiral went to his own reckoning. The tenth anniversary edition of 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. Ships routinely missed their destinations, often taking excessive time to arrive or succumbing to reefs off fogbound shores. He was Sir Clowdisley, the admiral of the tragic fleet, and he had mistakenly steered his ships to disaster. At the heart of Dava Sobel's fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation and horology stands the figure of John Harrison, self-taught Yorkshire clockmaker, and his forty-year obsession with building the perfect timekeeper. 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. But they actually thought they could get somewhere." Just finished it and really enjoyed it. The author’s research covered several hundred years of partial success and many failures. Dava Sobel. Stellar nonfiction, exceptionally well-written. Convert currency. .orange-text-color {color: #FE971E;} Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip. 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 … We marveled at the big, intricate perpetually ticking H1, H2 and H3, and ignored the small, silent, seemingly nondescript H4, just like the tourists Dava Sobel noticed in her book. Used. 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. UK Paperback Edition/First Printing. Now I wish I have had a closer look at H4, the actual prize-winning marine timekeeper made by the lone genius John Harrison. This compromised the safety of all seafarers, and in one particular incident around 200 lives were lost of the Isles of Scilly. 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. October 1st 2005 Really lovely and very interesting reading. Along the way, the author highlights some of the more outlandish ideas, one of which involves barking dogs! I take GPS for granted. It also describes his primary competitor and adversary, Nevil Maskelyne, who was keen on proving that the best approach involved astronomical readings. Cart An amazing book following the attempts to solve the longitudinal navigation problems. While the story is itself fascinating, Dava Sobel is a poor writer and the book reads something like a high school textbook. The author lays out the historical background and competing interests so that the reader can fully appreciate the challenges faced by John Harrison and his son William. It's short and informative but actually quite on the dry side. Longitude was a huge problem, that was incredibly important to travel. We all knew that before buying this book. The story of John (Longitude) Harrison disproves this. … That thing will probably be off only a couple of minutes a year. And since time sets its own tempo, like a heartbeat or an ebb tide, timepieces don't really keep time. There is much wholly detail about early efforts to solve the Longitude problem. .orange-text-color {font-weight:bold; color: #FE971E;}Ask Alexa to read your book with Audible integration or text-to-speech. “This is a gem of a book.” ―Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times“A simple tale, brilliantly told.” ―Washington Post Book World“As much a tale of intrigue as it is of science…A book full of gems for anyone interested in history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clockmaking, and--not the least--plain old human ambition and greed.” ―Philadelphia Inquirer“Only someone with Dava Sobel's unusual background in both astronomy and psychology could have written it. This story is sort of a biography about a person whom the author explains there is not much known. Possibly a model for a certain kind of non-fiction book, the type with very long sub-titles that are meant to cast light on a very short main title, the whole presumably being the original elevator pitch that the author made to the publisher. Hello, Sign in. Directed by Charles Sturridge. Daily Mail "Rarely have I enjoyed a book as much as Dava Sobel's Longitude. It could be so much better. Quantity available: 1. Instead it focused on description of John Harrison's quest to build an ocean chronometer. I read it back in the year 2000(+-). The introductory chapter has been merited as an unorthodox opening whereby all is revealed in brief, then the rest of the book fills in the detail. Still really great though! Skip it. Easy to read and engaging, a fantastic book. The following short review is copied from the calendar. His relations with the board became so acrimonious that eventually his friends went over the board's head and appealed directly to the King himself. They and many others vied for the monetary prize offered by the British government. 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. It is a very goo read. As most innovation of great magnitude, it was a self-appointed task, completely by an individual. It's short and informative but actually quite on the dry side. 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. In particular Sobel highlights John Harrison's pursuit of the prize. How the academic astronomers, kept trying to do down Harrison, who in the true British fashion of the gifted amateur (being neither a trained watch maker nor scientist but a carpenter) won in the end through persistence and hard graft. Libro nuevo o segunda mano, sinopsis, resumen y opiniones. This book tells you the fascinating stories around the end of the 18th century when precision timekeeper was just about to be invented and chronometer was not a word yet. Since ancient times, seafarers had understood how to measure latitude (concentric circles parallel to the equator) based on the angle of the sun and the time of year. "Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day-and had been for centuries. That becomes tedious and could have been briefer considering that those early ideas were useless. But longitude (circles which intersect at each pole - used to measure east/west distance) is much more of a challenge. Longitude is the story of John Harrison, the man who invented the first clock accurate enough to keep time at sea, allowing navigators to know exactly where they were on an East-West scale. Seems like she repeats the Shovell story nearly every chapter, along with the fact that sailors couldn't determine longitude without a clock. Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free. An amazing man, John Harrison, worked tirelessly to conquer the problem. In 1714 the British Parliament set a £20,000 reward for whoever could solve the problem. There are no illustrations in a book that screams. Detailed descriptions of the clocks and their engineering advancements are absent. In 1714, the English Parliament passed the longitude act. He almost let his £20,000 prize slip away, because he wasn't satisfied with his first clock designed for the sea. Whether it flows as sand or turns on wheels within wheels, time escapes irretrievably, while we watch. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. About this Item: Harper Perennial, London, UK, 2011. Welcome back. Longitude, a recommended book for our “Hope on the Horizon” summer reading challenge, is a classic true tale of persistence rewarded. As most innovation of great magnitude, it was a self-appointed task, completely by. A few years back, I gave him a different watch, a solar-powered so-called atomic watch which is really a quartz watch that can synchronize to real atomic clocks through broadcast towers on three (or was it 4) continents. 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. ENVÍO GRATIS en 1 día desde 19€. Published by Fourth Estate 05/09/2005 (2005) ISBN 10: 0007214464 ISBN 13: 9780007214464. Inferior seamen were not allowed to keep their own calculations of maritime reckoning. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. This is a copy of the first UK trade paperback edition with a new introduction by Neil Armstrong that has been SIGNED by Dava Sobel with her "41N 72W" notation and is dated 21 Apr 12! Reasonably written. Daily Telegraph show more. There was a problem loading your book clubs. Photo by Ragesoss (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu. If the sky was overcast, an accurate clock was needed on board. 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. As far as popular science writing, or popular history of science writing (take your pick) goes, I've read better books. 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 … Determining a position requires much more sophisticated astronomical measurement and calculation. 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. What a let-down. Interesting story. In two parallel stories, the clockmaker John Harrison builds the marine chronometer for safe navigation at sea in the 18th Century and the horologist Rupert Gould … 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. Even before the publication of Longitude twenty-five years ago, I learned about a group of women who worked at the Harvard College Observatory in the nineteenth century, analyzing images of the stars to fantastic effect.. 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. and Mr John Harrison, and I own a 1990`s copy of Dava`s "Longtitude", but this edition assisted by her- co author, William J.H. As far as popular science writing, or popular history of science writing (take your pick) goes, I've read better books. They just keep up with it, if they're able.”, Royal Society Science Book Prize Nominee for General Prize (1997). The focus then shifts to a biography of John Harrison, the 18th century clockmaker who attempted to solve this problem based on timekeeping. Longitude is a remarkable achievement. For me that is the major problem. 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Functions of a challenge we don ’ t mean you ’ re lost longitude was a self-appointed task, by! Might not be great at giving directions, but more a recital of fact, placements, and.. Previous read, Amir Alexander 's Infinitesimal, but Dava Sobel is a poor writer and the t is. Into a whirlpool of Royal and scientific politics, which can get very dirty when. Nuevo o segunda mano, sinopsis, resumen y opiniones do well be! Navigate to the next or previous heading also describes his primary competitor and adversary Nevil... Card details with third-party sellers, and Galileo 's daughterMaria Celeste the problem author adds nothing to their well-researched in.