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Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

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. 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. One man, John Harrison, in complete opposition to the scientific community, dared to imagine a mechanical solution―a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land. 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.

Chapter 1 - Imaginary Lines

Chapter 2 - The Sea Before Time

Chapter 3 - Adrift in a Clockwork Universe

Chapter 4 - Time in a Bottle

Chapter 5 - Powder of Sympathy

Chapter 6 - The Prize

Chapter 7 - Cogmaker’s Journal

Chapter 8 - The Grass hopper Goes to Sea

Chapter 9 - Hands on Heaven’s Clock

Chapter 10 - The Diamond Time keeper

Chapter 11 - Trial by Fire and Water

Chapter 12 - A Tale of Two Portraits

Chapter 13 - The Second Voyage of Captain James Cook

Chapter 14 - The Mass Production of Genius

Chapter 15 - In the Meridian Courtyard

Acknowledgments

Sources