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La longitud (1995)

de Dava Sobel

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
8,353174820 (3.87)298
Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest, and of John Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking. Through Dava Sobel's consummate skill, Longitude will open a new window on our world for all who read it.… (més)
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    L'illa del dia abans de Umberto Eco (polutropon)
    polutropon: Eco's book is a magical realist novel set in the Age of Exploration, in which the quest to reliably determine longitude at sea plays a pivotal role.
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    ALinNY458: A Short Brief Flash is a high readable book that I thought had some parallels to the story told in Dava Sobel's fine book.
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    John_Vaughan: An account of the invention of true chronometer and definition of Longitude.
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» Mira també 298 mencions

Anglès (163)  Castellà (3)  Alemany (2)  Neerlandès (2)  Francès (2)  Danès (1)  Totes les llengües (173)
Es mostren 1-5 de 173 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This little book tells the story of John Harrison, self-taught clockmaker vs. the astronomy establishment of its day, in the contest to establish the best way to calculate a ship's location while at sea. It's fluently and engagingly written and beautifully illustrated, and a joy to read. ( )
  mari_reads | Apr 14, 2022 |
Longitude is the tale of John Harrison's quest to win the Board of Longitude's 20,000 pound prize in the 1700s to be the first person to discover a reliable means of determining one's longitude (particularly at sea). A boring story? Perhaps you might think so, but the story of longitude is filled with backstabbing, internal politics, and jealous rivals.

There were two primary means of determining longitude put forward, that of astronomical means, using the stars to gauge where one is, and that of time, if you know the accurate time for where you are vs a predetermined location (Greenwich) one can determine the longitude. Astronomical was favored by the learned men of the day, as it was considered more "pure", though perhaps more importantly, Royal Astronomers held the scientific positions of authority and thus the more celestial oriented a solution was, the more it improved their own fame. However astronomy requires clear night skies, a very limiting factor, where a clock can be any hour of the day and weather.

Without detailing the whole book, John Harrison managed to overcome strong prejudice, forcing him to prove himself against increasingly stacked trials, biased judges, and the beliefs of the day. His sheer determination is an inspiration. Though he is not without his own faults. He had created a functional enough clock in 1736 (the H1), and spent nearly 30 years improving it to the the watch sized H4 in 1761 which proved the effectiveness of his invention. I wonder how much sailors of the day would have appreciated knowing longitude 30 years earlier.

The book is a good, fun read. It's short enough to read in just a couple sittings and entertaining. As a fan of microhistories, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a history, but by no means is it a must read for anyone either. ( )
  driscoll42 | Feb 28, 2022 |
The British Parliament consulted with Sir Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley (for whom the comet is named) when they passed the Longitude Act of 1714. Parliament needed brilliant minds like theirs, because the problem the British faced was a difficult one.

Mastery of navigation on the high seas was crucial to the success of the Empire. Yet there was not any reliable means for a ship's captain to know where he was. And if a captain did not know where he was, then navigating to where he wanted to go was fraught with peril. It could mean wandering into unsafe waters. Such was the fate of a whole fleet of British ships in 1707. The fleet struck rocks they did not expect to encounter, sinking four ships with a loss of almost 2000 men.

Using lines of latitude and longitude to determine location is a very old idea. But it turns out that as a practical matter, latitude was much easier for a ship's navigator to determine than longitude. Finding longitude requires that you know the time of day at your location and also at some known reference longitude. The difference between the two times is directly related to the difference in longitudes. With the time difference in hand you can calculate your current longitude. But in the early 1700s no one had been able to come up with a clock that could keep accurate time while at sea.

Longitude is the story of John Harrison. A self-trained carpenter and clockmaker, he provided the first practicable means to solve "the longitude problem" with a clock that could keep accurate time while at sea.

Harrison faced intrigue and double-dealing in presenting his clocks to the Longitude Board, formed after the passage of the 1714 law. The brightest minds of the day held the opinion that the only practical solution would be found by constructing reference tables of star positions at known longitudes. The reference positions would then be compared to the positions seen by a ship's navigator, and longitude calculated from there. This method of determining longitude was known as the "clockwork of the heavens". Those same brightest minds thought that no one would ever devise an accurate seagoing clock.

Unfortunately for Harrison, "heavenly clockwork" thinkers predominated on the Board. They were disinclined to believe he, a lone clockmaker, with no formal training, could provide a solution. That Harrison came up with not one, but four different clock designs that met the needs of navigators was an astonishing achievement. But it took years, and an appeal to the King, for the British government to acknowledge it.

Longitude was first published in 1995 and is today considered a classic of popular science writing. Sobel tells the story in an easily digestible way, and at 175 pages in the paperback edition it's not a long read. If you have an interest in history, science, or navigation and haven't yet read it you're missing out. I give Longitude Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. ( )
  stevesbookstuff | Dec 16, 2021 |
478
  revirier | Dec 13, 2021 |
Interesting read that details how the Prime Meridian came to be set in England and how a lone clock maker clashed with bureaucracy of the longitude commission. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 173 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Ms. Sobel, a former science reporter for The New York Times, confesses in her source notes that ''for a few months at the outset, I maintained the insane idea that I could write this book without traveling to England and seeing the timekeepers firsthand.'' Eventually she did visit the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, where the four clocks that James Harrison constructed are exhibited.
She writes, ''Coming face with these machines at last -- after having read countless accounts of their construction and trial, after having seen every detail of their insides and outsides in still and moving pictures -- reduced me to tears.''
Such is the eloquence of this gem of a book that it makes you understand exactly how she felt.
 
Here's a swell little book that tells an amazing story that is largely forgotten today but that deserves to be remembered.

It is the story of the problem of navigation at sea--which plagued ocean-going mariners for centuries--and how it was finally solved.

It is the story of how an unknown, uneducated and unheralded clockmaker solved the problem that had stumped some of the greatest scientific minds. And it is the story of how the Establishment of the 18th Century tried to block his solution.

The essential problem is this: In the middle of the ocean, how can you tell where you are? That is, how can you tell how far east or west of your starting point you have gone?
afegit per smasler | editaLos Angeles Times, Lee Dembart (Nov 24, 1995)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (22 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Sobel, DavaAutorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Armstrong, NeilPròlegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Dilla Martínez, XavierTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Reading, KateNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Has d'iniciar sessió per poder modificar les dades del coneixement compartit.
Si et cal més ajuda, mira la pàgina d'ajuda del coneixement compartit.
Títol normalitzat
Títol original
Títols alternatius
Informació del coneixement compartit en neerlandès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
Data original de publicació
Gent/Personatges
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
Llocs importants
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
Esdeveniments importants
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
Pel·lícules relacionades
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
Premis i honors
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
Epígraf
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
When I'm playful I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales. --Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
Dedicatòria
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
For my mother, Betty Gruber Sobel, a four-star navigator who can sail by the heavens but always drives by way of Canarsie.
Primeres paraules
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
Once on a Wednesday excursion when I was a little girl, my father bought me a beaded wire ball that I loved.
Citacions
Darreres paraules
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
Nota de desambiguació
Editor de l'editorial
Creadors de notes promocionals a la coberta
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
Llengua original
Informació del coneixement compartit en anglès. Modifica-la per localitzar-la a la teva llengua.
CDD/SMD canònics
LCC canònic
Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest, and of John Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking. Through Dava Sobel's consummate skill, Longitude will open a new window on our world for all who read it.

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