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 to 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 problem. To encourage a solution, governments established prizes for anyone whose method or device proved successful. The largest reward of £ 20.000 -truly a king's ransom- was offered Britain's Parliament in 1714. The scientific establishment -from Galileo to Sir Issac 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 trails and tribulations during his forty-year quest to win the prize are the culmination of this remarkable story. Soft cover.
Edition : 1998