Our last book session for the year. Please can I ask that if you have RSVPed to another session this month, you choose only one session to attend for December. This is because we have a number of people seeking to join the club (membership is now closed) and I am keen to gauge how many of our members are active and whether we can open up to more members and still allow everyone who wants to attend a session to do so. Thanks!
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel (208 pages - a nice short one!).
A 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. With a new Foreword by the celebrated astronaut Neil Armstrong.
‘Sobel has done the impossible and made horology sexy – no mean feat’ New Scientist
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 (£20,000) 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.
You can buy the book on amazon in new and used format (or in kindle):
Also for those of you interested here is the link to the menu at Tom's Kitchen: