A Conversation for Longitude
Longitude (the book)
MauveBib Started conversation May 27, 2000
I recently aquired a copy of Dava Sobel's Longitude (the illustrated version). Is it worth reading?
Skinny Rob Posted Jun 5, 2000
It's quite good and worth a read but I found it slightly disappointing. The book keeps mentioning many innovative new mechanisms invented by Harrison which outperformed all that had gone them but gives few details. I wanted *drawings* of his frictionless escapement. That aside: yes, I'd say it's worth reading.
AKjimmy Posted Jun 24, 2000
You can be very entertained and educated by the video presentation of this work produced, I beleive, by PBS. It is probably available at you local public library.
CRich70 Posted Nov 20, 2006
I've read the book and have seen the movie. I enjoyed both of them. I feel that Michael Gambon played John Harrison very well, and that Jeremy Irons did a very good job portraying the modern link to Harrison(his character repaired the clocks which had fallen into disrepair).
Gavin Orr Posted Dec 30, 2006
I fund the book most interesting in showing the bias of the governing body because, although the solution to the problem met the requirements (i.e. it told you where you were), it didn't do it the "right" way (i.e. it didn't use enough astronomy).
CRich70 Posted Dec 31, 2006
I think the book (and even more so the movie) also illustrate a basic truth of the human condition. If someone comes up with a simple way to solve a problem, but for some reason someone else (or some group) doesn't approve of the person then the new idea (item etc.) isn't accepted right away. New ideas are not accepted because their detractors suddenly see the light, but because those detractors either die or fall out of power. Now days we understand that Harrison was on the right track (because the astronomy angle was too complex to be workable) but back then his detractors didn't believe a self-taught clockmaker (who had apprenticed to his own father as a carpenter) could really have the right idea. And of course there was the prestige involved. On the one side we have men descended from noble blood lines working on the atronomy method of longitude and on the other we have a self-taught clockmaker of common blood. Hence, the men of noble blood had to be right and the commoner wrong. Only they weren't and he wasn't.
CRich70 Posted Jan 10, 2007
If you go to the link below you can see an animation of the "Grasshopper Escapement" in action.
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