An analysis of dava sobels writing style in the book longitude

There was a problem adding your email address. The Greek astronomers could measure latitude as early as the third century b. What Works,etc.

An analysis of dava sobels writing style in the book longitude

With these imaginary lines he bought a new light in to the maritime explorations and map-making methods of his time.


The sailors while at the ocean found it pretty straightforward to find their current latitude - which is drawn parallel to each other while girdling the globe — by measuring the height of the sun or any known celestial bodies.

But accurately measuring their current longitude was an entirely different case, as the longitudinal lines loop from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again in great circles, which converge at the ends of the earth. Since it is an angular measurement, which is based on time, the sailors had to have access to two different times - the current time on-board the vessel and the time at a known and pre-selected longitudinal location — at the same instance for calculating the hour differences to work out the geographical separation and the longitude.

From a modern viewpoint with our easy-to-carry accurate time-telling devices and instant communication this problem, which a sailor faced in finding the exact time at two different locations, may feel far-fetched.

Longitude ~ Dava Sobel ~ 2/99 ~ Nonfiction Export

But a sailor in the middle of an ocean pre-dating 18th century only had limited resources in the form of either a pendulum driven clock which was not at all reliable — as the factors like gravity, motion of the vessel, temperature and atmospheric pressure affected the pendulum and there by the time — or by comparing positions of moon or planets like Mars with their anticipatory positions in working out the longitudinal values; both these methods were crude with a high level of inaccuracy.

Since the days of Ptolemy, legendary scientific and exploratory minds like Amarigo Vespucci, Sir Issac Newton and Galileo Galilei did a lot of research into this matter but it took sixteen more centuries for mankind to finally invent a reliable solution for this problem.

This disaster and huge protest from the merchants and seamen resulted in the formation of a parliamentary committee for finding a practical solution for the longitude problem. Dava Sobel covers this formation of the committee and the announcement of the reward in detail.

An analysis of dava sobels writing style in the book longitude

But, by reason of the motion of the Ship, the Variation of Heat and Cold, Wet and Dry, and the Difference of Gravity in different Latitudes, such a watch hath not yet been made. But when the Longitude at sea is once lost, it cannot be found again by any watch.

At the same time another less known figure; a skilled watchmaker from Lincolnshire named John Harrison who was stimulated by the scientific and the monetary factors surrounding this riddle decided to find a solution of his own. His handmade sea-clocks - which are elaborate pieces of engineering marvels and still in display in working condition at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England - gave the world the first reliable method for measuring the longitude.

Dava Sobel records the background and each step of this pioneering invention in an easy to read form, by guiding the reader through a tumultuous story of the sheer determination and relentless pursuit for perfection from a self made man and the obstructions, unkempt promises and villainy he had to face from some of his jealous contemporaries.

This concise and engaging chronicle of an innovative engineering deed covers a lot of details on the history, science and politics, which led to this invention and is a recommended read for anyone who is interested in maritime history and science.

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius

The illustrated edition is highly recommended.Dava Sobel is an accomplished writer of popular expositions of scientific topics. A graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Ms. Sobel attended Antioch College and the City College of New York before receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the State University of 4/5.

Longitude does not seem to be a topic that would set the reader's interest and imagination racing, but Dava Sobel manages to make what is a seemingly boring topic into .

Oct 21,  · [Editor's note: When we received the latest book by Dava Sobel, author of the multiple-award-winning Longitude, we were intrigued to see that, halfway through her discussions of the life of. Buy a cheap copy of Longitude book by Dava Sobel. The thorniest scientific problem of the eighteenth century was how to determine longitude.

Many thousands of lives had been lost at sea over the centuries due to Free shipping over $/5(5).

Detailed Review Summary of Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius by Dava Sobel

Longitude Dava Sobel. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time is written by Dava book is called Longitude because it is about a clock maker who was able to determine grupobittia.comining longitude was the superlative scientific question in the eighteenth century that Galileo and Newton were not able to resolve.

Dec 08,  · Partly because I grew up in a family of doctors and dentists, I very much admire the medical writing of Atul Gawande, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Oliver Sacks, Naomi Rosenberg .

The Social Contract - Book Review of 'Longitude' by Dava Sobel