Features of Longitude PDF By Dava Sobel
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. Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking, and opens a new window on our world.
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Description of Longitude PDF By Dava Sobel
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Dava Sobel (born June 15, 1947, The Bronx, New York) is an American writer of popular expositions of scientific topics. Her books include Longitude, about English clockmaker John Harrison, and Galileo’s Daughter, about Galileo’s daughterMaria Celeste.
Dimensions and Characteristics of Longitude PDF By Dava Sobel
- Identification Number : B003WUYE66
- Publisher : Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (July 5, 2010)
- Publication date : July 5, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 1896 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 191 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Bookname: Longitude PDF
- Best Sellers Rank: #48,132 in Kindle Store
Shallow and Repetitive
December 25, 2019
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. Skip it. Seems like she repeats the Shovell story nearly every chapter, along with the fact that sailors couldn’t determine longitude without a clock. Yeah, we know. We all knew that before buying this book. The analysis of Harrison’s clocks is far more focused on the decorations of their faces than on his novel engineering. Detailed descriptions of the clocks and their engineering advancements are absent. Simplistic terms like “bimetallic strip” are promoted as the entire explanation, with no further information provided. Perhaps the author feels the story of Longitude should focus on people instead of engineering. Unfortunately, the people involved are history’s greatest astronomers and physicists. The author adds nothing to their well-researched biographies in this book, and fails to communicate even the most basic functions of a clock. This is an extremely disappointing read. I do not recommend it.
Precise Writing on Precision
December 21, 2016
Longitude is west to east, east to west. But it’s not that simple because, for example, the equator is wider around the earth than the Tropic of Capricorn or the Arctic Circle. 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.
After reading a book about Mason and Dixon and all of the incredibly (for me) complex math and astronomy involved, I was slow to begin this book. Author Dava Sobel, however, cuts through all the more complicated principles like a good pre-calculus teacher. I would even suggest this book could appeal to adventurous 8th graders. The history is impressive. The Harrison family were watchmakers, but as very precise and diligent watchmakers competitive with the Royal Society and haughty astronomers like Nevil Maskelyne. John Harrison had size, cost, material, temperature fluctuations, moisture, waves, and many more atmospheric obstacles to confront while those relying on lunar readings went much further to produce much less. For the record, I had never heard of John Harrison. His predecessors include Halley, Tycho Brahe, and Galileo, whose attempts to time the speed of light is briefly retold here.
This is summer reading, a hero’s tale, good defeating bad, The Little Engine that Could. If you or your child is interested in sailing, navigation, astronomy, inventions, machining, or how the British came to rule the word for a time, this is a book to read and re-read.
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I was left hoping for more detail and depth
May 16, 2017
I was left hoping for more detail and depth. This story is sort of a biography about a person whom the author explains there is not much known. 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. At the end of the book the author explains that she purposefully omitted information that she did not think her readers are smart enough to consider.
The premise of using a clock to compute longitude is mentioned repeatedly through the first half of the book, but an explanation of the operating principal and technique is only finally hinted at in the later stages of the book. The idea is that at any instant one can correlate “local” time to some known “reference” time as it occurs at some specific reference location and compute the local angle of longitude in relation to the reference location. The clocks being discussed are the devices used to reliably transport the “reference” time for comparative use in other locales. I have been aware of the technique for a long while and it became a guessing game to anticipate when the idea was finally going to be presented to, and shared with, readers. I think that many readers will enjoy the book much more if the premise is described, in detail, in an earlier portion of the story so that it is more obvious why one may appreciate all the great efforts made in the field of horology to achieve a series of incremental advances in performance and reliability.
This book reads like a book report or a term paper rather than as a comprehensive book. It seems as if the author knows her subject well, but did not benefit from effective editing and/or insightful guidance regarding the perspective of a reader when formatting the story line into book form.
I am surprised that some other more satisfying explanation of the history and circumstances has not been offered as a replacement for this book and its best seller status.
An adventure in genius
March 9, 2017
This book is a fascinating history of the development of a mechanical chronometer. 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 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. His vocation was carpentry and his intimate knowledge of wood was employed in his first chronometer. He knew how to build sound grandfather clocks and that experience fed into his first chronometer for seafaring. He almost let his £20,000 prize slip away, because he wasn’t satisfied with his first clock designed for the sea. Had he resisted the urge to build a better clock before claiming the prize, he would have won the prize out right. 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.
The books paints the complex story of Harrison’s Great achievements and does so in an easy to read format.
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