The Illustrated Longitude

The Illustrated Longitude The Illustrated Longitude Recounts In Words And Images The Epic Quest To Solve The Greatest Scientific Problem Of The Eighteenth And Three Prior Centuries Determining How A Captain Could Pinpoint His Ship S Location At Sea All Too Often Throughout The Ages Of Exploration, Voyages Ended In Disaster When Crew And Cargo Were Either Lost At Sea Or Destroyed Upon The Rocks Of An Unexpected Landfall Thousands Of Lives And The Fortunes Of Nations Hung On A Resolution To The Longitude ProblemTo Encourage A Solution, Governments Established Prizes For Anyone Whose Method Or Device Proved Successful The Largest Reward Of , Truly A King S Ransom Was Offered By Britain S Parliament In The Scientific Establishment From Galileo To Sir Isaac Newton Had Been Certain That A Celestial Answer Would Be Found And Invested Untold Effort In This Pursuit By Contrast, John Harrison Imagined And Built The Unimaginable A Clock That Told Perfect Time At Sea, Known Today As The Chronometer Harrison S Trials And Tribulations During His Forty Year Quest To Win The Prize Are The Culmination Of This Remarkable Story The Illustrated Longitude Brings A New And Important Dimension To Dava Sobel S Celebrated Story It Contains The Entire Original Narrative Of Longitude, Redesigned To Accompany Images Chosen By William JH Andrewes From Portraits Of Every Important Figure In The Story To Maps And Diagrams, Scientific Instruments, And John Harrison S Remarkable Sea Clocks Themselves Andrewes Elegant Captions And Sidebars On Scientific And Historical Events Tell Their Own Story Of Longitude

Dava Sobel is an accomplished writer of popular expositions of scientific topics 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 She holds honorary doctor of letters degrees from the University of Bath, in England, and M

[Ebook] ➦ The Illustrated Longitude  Author Dava Sobel –
  • Paperback
  • 224 pages
  • The Illustrated Longitude
  • Dava Sobel
  • English
  • 17 June 2017
  • 9780802775931

10 thoughts on “The Illustrated Longitude

  1. says:

    Longitude from Dava Sobel is a fascinating account of how a virtually unknown watchmaker named John Harrison conquered one of the oldest and thorniest problems surrounding the ocean voyages the problem of accurately measuring longitude , which stumped even the best of scientific minds for centuries A fascinating problemIt was Ptolemy in Geographia , written in the 2nd century, who contributed the concept of a co ordinate system based on the imaginary lines of latitude and longitude, for accurately plotting any spot on the surface of earth With these imaginary lines he bought a new light in to the maritime explorations and map making methods of his time The sailors while at the ocean found it pretty straightforward to find their current latitude which is drawn parallel to each other while girdling the globe by measuring the height of the sun or any known celestial bodies But accurately measuring their current longitude was an entirely different case, as the longitudinal lines loop from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again in great circles, which converge at the ends of the earth Since it is an angular measurement, which is based on time, the sailors had to have access to two different times the current time on board the vessel and the time at a known and pre selected longitudinal location at the same instance for calculating the hour differences to work out the geographical separation and the longitude From a modern viewpoint with our easy to carry accurate time telling devices and instant communication this problem, which a sailor faced in finding the exact time at two different locations, may feel far fetched But a sailor in the middle of an ocean pre dating 18th century only had limited resources in the form of either a pendulum driven clock which was not at all reliable as the factors like gravity, motion of the vessel, temperature and atmospheric pressure affected the pendulum and there by the time or by comparing positions of moon or planets like Mars with their anticipatory positions in working out the longitudinal values both these methods were crude with a high level of inaccuracy.Since the days of Ptolemy, legendary scientific and exploratory minds like Amarigo Vespucci, Sir Issac Newton and Galileo Galilei did a lot of research into this matter but it took sixteen centuries for mankind to finally invent a reliable solution for this problem.A tragedy the declaration of a prize moneyIn 1707, a British fleet of vessels under Admiral Sir Clowdesley Shovell met with a tragic disaster as the result of miscalculations in their whereabouts leading to the sinking of four warships with a death toll of than 1600 mariners This disaster and huge protest from the merchants and seamen resulted in the formation of a parliamentary committee for finding a practical solution for the longitude problem This was followed by the 1714 Longitude Act by the parliament, which promised a prize money of 20,000 for a suitable solution Dava Sobel covers this formation of the committee and the announcement of the reward in detail Sir Issac Newton, who was consulted by the committee, at first suggested the idea of a watch for tackling the longitude problem One method is by a Watch to keep time exactly But, by reason of the motion of the Ship, the Variation of Heat and Cold, Wet and Dry, and the Difference of Gravity in different Latitudes, such a watch hath not yet been made But he believed that such a watch with too many technical challenges was not going to be a reality and was aligned towards finding a solution for the longitude problem in the realms of astronomy A good watch may serve to keep a reckoning at Sea for some days and to know the time of a celestial Observation and for this end a good Jewel watch may suffice till a better sort of Watch can be found out But when the Longitude at sea is once lost, it cannot be found again by any watch Newton died in 1727, and therefore did not live to see the predecessor of the modern day chronometers become a reality At the same time another less known figure a skilled watchmaker from Lincolnshire named John Harrison who was stimulated by the scientific and the monetary factors surrounding this riddle decided to find a solution of his own Possessed with a brilliant mind he succeeded initially in creating a prototype and then further versions of perfect working models of the world s first marine chronometers thereby revolutionizing the ocean travels His handmade sea clocks which are elaborate pieces of engineering marvels and still in display in working condition at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England gave the world the first reliable method for measuring the longitude Dava Sobel records the background and each step of this pioneering invention in an easy to read form, by guiding the reader through a tumultuous story of the sheer determination and relentless pursuit for perfection from a self made man and the obstructions, unkempt promises and villainy he had to face from some of his jealous contemporaries This concise and engaging chronicle of an innovative engineering deed covers a lot of details on the history, science and politics, which led to this invention and is a recommended read for anyone who is interested in maritime history and science Since I read an updated fully illustrated edition of Longitude , which was published later, the book was a treasure trove with a large selection of rare photographs including Harrison s sea clocks, documents of declarations, letters, scientific articles, maps and diagrams which added greatly to the value of the volume The illustrated edition is highly recommended.

  2. says:

    In my 4 star review of the original Longitude, I said that my sole complaint is that the book would have really benefited from illustrations and now here it is So I really have to give this the full 5 stars based on that alone.However, THAT SAIDmaybe 180 illustrations Sobel s total as noted in the introduction I didn t count them is a few too many There are pictures on nearly every page, and while it makes for a much enjoyable overall experience, one quickly notes that the pictures all fall into one of five categories old timey maps near identical paintings of 17th 18th century scientists only slightly less identical covers of early scientific pamphlets paintings of ships at sea cool and finally, drawings and photos of the various clocks and other devices invented along the way very cool Of course, I don t know what ELSE you could have pictures of, although inexcusably, the one thing that isn t shown is Galileo s brilliantly dorky celatone My original review covers the text itself although turns out I had totally forgotten about the delightful powder of sympathy, a bizarre magical powder that could purportedly heal instantaneously over great distances Long story short, the plan would ultimately have called for wounded dogs to go out with all ships, who would then yelp at a fixed time every day when someone back in England dipped one of their bandage in the magic powder Of course, on longer voyages the dogs would have had to be re injured at regular intervals remember, this was pre PETA but thankfully, this technique was never tested.Anyway absolutely great book that is even superior to the wonderful original Only wish it was better known, as the original Longitude has some 48,ooo GR ratings, while this illustrated update has only 260 Typical example THE LONGITUDES EXAMIN D, Beginning with a fhort Epiftle to the Longitudinarians, AND Ending with the Defcription of a fmart, pretty MACHINE Of my Own, Which I am almoft fure will do for the LONGITUDE, and procure me the Twenty Thoufand Pounds Would love to include a photo of the celetone here, but despite seeing other people do so in their reviews, I still haven t been able to figure out how to do so But you can one see for yourself here https wiki Celaton

  3. says:

    Old review from 2005.Since my fondest wish is to sail the high seas of the 19th century, I need to learn how to find myself without GPS I also love this cover a violent sea dashing ships to splinters, and, from on high, a man, in a wig, with a clock, come to deliver the poor dogs from ignorance Interesting story, filled with many an odd character Made me want an olde time pocket watch I was actually constantly thinking of Hicksville while I was reading this book, and the Captain Cook Hone Heke scenes in which they are lost at sea on a moving island It s strange that the sensation of being lost very often feels like falling out of reality Even if you don t know your exact location, you are still at a definable location, but it never seems to feel that way Imagine a small, ticking watch being your only psychological anchor to the real world Without it, you become unplottable.

  4. says:

    This is the type of nonfiction I love It s all about the people who made history and not just a recitation of dates and facts The Illustrated version of this book included plenty of color images, paintings, maps, etc I enjoyed seeing portraits of the people involved in finding the answer to the puzzle of determining an accurate reading for longitude.I had known it was a problem but I hadn t realize what a terrible danger it was for ships not to know the exact reading for it I assumed that dead reckoning got ships fairly close to where they wanted and then they would spot land and finish the journey Okay, I know that was dumb, but I ve never sailed, so that s my excuse One of the stories that brought home how dangerous it was was the recounting of a British fleet returning from a battle and due to the conditions, couldn t see the coastline A sailor came forward, and even though it was against the law, told the admiral that they were too far off course and were in danger of running aground The admiral had him hung on the spot for mutiny Then all the ships in the fleet ran aground and sunk right after that 1,647 men died Only 26 survived, including the admiral However, after he made it to shore, he was killed by a woman who fancied the emerald ring on his hand You ve got to think there s a hand of justice at work in the world The book brought to life the challenge and danger people faced without an accurate way to determine longitude I also enjoyed the way the author set forth the opposing philosophies and factions for how to tackle the problem One concerned creating an accurate time piece that could keep time without slowing down due to temperature changes and sea water affecting the mechanism The second faction looked to mapping the moon and the stars and planets as the way to determine longitude Each approach had seemingly insurmountable problems How the problem was finally solved made for fascinating reading.

  5. says:

    If you have already read Sobel s Longitude, you have already seen all of the text that is in this particular book Indeed, I mistakenly thought that there were two different textual versions when I originally got both editions of the book from the library, and to my surprise I found out that the shorter paperback of less than 200 pages and the larger sized book with 200 pages of text in it were actually the same book, except one had pictures and the other did not except for the cover Early in this book it is said that the only way that one could make this book better is with pictures, and while this book is definitely better for its illustrations, it is not as if the original book was without flaws Indeed, one of the most amusing aspects of this book was the way that a previous reader had annotated this particular volume to point out a couple of flaws in it, namely the authors comment about how the component metals were combined in order to preserve the same length regardless of the temperature conditions faced by the chronometer, and once to point out that there are subtle differences between GMT and Universal Time.Indeed, like its text only counterpart, this book is divided into the same fifteen chapters that introduce the problem of longitude, explore some of the ways that it caused death when people ran up against unexpected shores thinking they were hundreds of miles away, and how there were essentially two different ideas of how to know longitude, one based on the mechanics of the clock ultimately used by John Harrison to solve the problem with his chronometer and the other based on celestial mechanics that was favored by court astronomers and the scientific establishment This being an underdog tale, the author s sympathies and likely the reader s as well will be with the lone underdog who occasionally asks Parliament for money while solving the problem mostly on his own although there are clearly some ways in which he was influence by others, especially in his decision to turn his third model into a small watch that was far portable than his first two solutions And when he is vindicated at last and his solution is mass produced by others, the author can close with a glorious look at his machines and their restoration, with the reader appreciative of the lone genius that worked for decades to solve a problem some people thought impossible.And really, the text is improved with the pictures, whether one is looking at photographs or looking at designs or examining maps Even as someone who is generally a pretty textual person, it is easy to see that this subject matter is improved with visual aid, especially because chronometers and the travel of people through the ocean and the shrinkage of estimates of land once proper coordinates are known are all matters that can easily be conveyed through appropriate visuals and are much difficult to explain in text alone One wonders why Sobel didn t want to focus on a well illustrated version of her book to begin with, since at least a few of her other books are richly illustrated With illustrations, this not only becomes a good book to read but also one which can easily appear on someone s coffee table to be paged through admiringly by visitors to one s house, which is definitely no small benefit It is also easy to wonder if the author s work will be improved by comments like that which I found in this volume, as its minor errors probably should be corrected for the author to really show her expertise in matters of popular science as she would wish to show.

  6. says:

    If you re going to read this book, it s really a good idea to read the Illustrated version, because you get a lot of context from the beautiful illustrations, and their captions I fact, I think I would have found the original, bare, edition to be rather less interesting Apparently, the text is exactly the same I checked However, be aware that reading the illustrated version is difficult because of its rather awkward size and shape But it s worth it to see the illustrations, really I enjoyed this book It tells a fascinating story of an unsung hero at least, I had never heard of him before this book became a best seller , John Harrison, who was clearly a genius He started making clocks without having being apprenticed to a clockmaker in other words, a self educated man from relatively humble beginnings, who solved the biggest problem of his day determining longitude while at sea Many ships foundered and sank with loss of nearly all hands when they encountered rocks or shorelines they didn t expect, because they didn t know where they were The book talks about the most famous of these four British warships, headed by Sir Clowdisley Shovell isn t that a simply marvelous name , struck the rocks in the Scilly Isles, off the South West coast of England, and sank with the loss of almost all the men 1647 perished.As a result, the British government offered a considerable prize to one who could solve the problem of determining longitude at sea, to a sufficient accuracy This resulted in many, many people submitting proposals, most of which were completely ridiculous But, eventually, John Harrison from a small village in Yorkshire travelled down to London and met with members of the Longitude Committee , who evaluates the proposals, and, of those accepted, require the submitter to prove his submission worked no mean feat.The result was a long, protracted situation, with John Harrison working years to perfect the most accurate timepieces ever made to that point, with funding from the Longitude Committee, and with members of the Longitude Committee supporting him, and others working against him and pushing their own rival schemes in very underhanded fashion Politics was the name of the game It was by no means certain that Harrison would succeed, especially since his major rival was Nevil Maskelyne what a suitable name for an evil antagonist, huh , who was for a long time the British Astronomer Royal Dastardly deeds abounded.Altogether, a fascinating piece of history, quite well told although the author, from time to time, had a tendency towards rather floral writing It is probable that Harrison s invention, the marine chronometer, was a major reason why the British ruled the waves for centuries.Highly recommended

  7. says:

    I have to say, this it was a fantastic recommendation As a scientist, I thoroughly enjoyed learning how clocks work and how Harrison compensated for thermal expansion, though I have to admit it took me a lot of mental energy and chapter rereading to figure out how the escapement mechanism works Plus, the whole problem of longitude was absolutely fascinating to me and I ve excitedly told a few of my nerdier friends about it as well Also I ve been to Tycho Brahe s observatory in Hven Denmark Sweden so that was a neat connection to make The first part was awesome, definitely 5 stars, though it started to lose steam in the middle and definitely by the end so 4 stars.

  8. says:

    This is both a thrilling and inspirational story and a wonderfully lucid presentation of the historical challenges surrounding a complex issue The pictures and text combine to create a deeply satisfying experience to which a reader can return again and again One obtains a sense of not only the scientific methods involved, but also of the political and economic forces that shaped Western society at the time and still prevail today A superb achievement.

  9. says:

    Very interesting story and well written The photos as illustrations look beautiful, but also make the book a bit difficult to read An excellent tribute to a widely unknown man who changed the world.

  10. says:

    This is another of those books that considers a topic for which sufficient material was at hand to produce a fine New Yorker length feature piece, but on which the author or publisher was determined to produce something longer, and so the material is stretched, repeated, and embellished upon with pointless asides and personal reflections that end up making a good story fairly painful to get through The story behind all this is quite interesting, but so little is known of Harrison s life that we spend little time on him or his inventions, but must instead slog through accounts of shipwrecks and the general hubris of learned men of the era Further, the details of Harrison s engineering seem to be beyond the author, or were excised by some populist editor, leaving me tantalized but frustrated.Sobel seems to take her inspiration from works like The Map That Changed the World William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology, and although she does not quite fall to the nadir of Winchester s execrable prose, the closing chapter is just embarrassing.This Illustrated copy would have benefited from an editor who believes people actually read the book instead, the many images are captioned with duplicate descriptions that at times conflict on facts with the main prose

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