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Longitude [Kindle Edition]

Dava Sobel
3.9 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (129 Kundenrezensionen)

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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 the inability to determine an east-west position. This is the engrossing story of the clockmaker, John "Longitude" Harrison, who solved the problem that Newton and Galileo had failed to conquer, yet claimed only half the promised rich reward.

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 the inability to determine an east-west position. This is the engrossing story of the clockmaker, John "Longitude" Harrison, who solved the problem that Newton and Galileo had failed to conquer, yet claimed only half the promised rich reward.


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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen DAVA SOBEL AND HER TWO ENIGMAS 10. April 2000
After reading most of the reviews about this good book from Dava Sobel, I am not going to add to the deserved words of praise of the other reviewers. This book about the Longitude has its merits from the literary point of view and from the historic and scientific points of view.
Nevertheless, I find two great mysteries or enigmas in the story written by Ms. Sobel. I presume there must be reasons for them but I am unable to guess or find them.
FIRST MYSTERY. In page 37 of the Paperback edition one can read that "Timing the motion of the lamp by his own pulse, Galileo saw that the length of a pendulum determines its rate." This is true, but it is NOT what Galileo found. That the length and rate of the pendulum are related is very old knowledge, maybe from prehistoric times. What Galileo found, by his own pulse, was that the rate of the pendulum does not depend on the amplitude of oscillation. This property is known, since Galileo, as the property of "isochronism" (having equal duration). The period of the pendulum is the same for small or large amplitudes of oscillation. I do not know why Ms. Sobel omitted this. information.
SECOND MYSTERY. In page 95 of the Paperback edition one reads about Bradley that "his efforts with a telescope twenty-four feet long provided the first hard evidence that the Earth really did move through space." This is, of course, absolutely true. But this finding by Bradley is better known in the history of science as his discovery of the "aberration of starlight" (1728). In fact, the astronomer Bradley and the word "aberration" are practically synonyms in the history of science. I wonder why Ms. Sobel did not mention this fact. This is the second mystery.
Maybe there are other enigmas; anyhow, the book is very good!
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3.0 von 5 Sternen The Long road to Longitude 6. März 2000
Nothing is better in a popular science story than converging and competing disciplines, and the discovery of longitude epitomizes this competition. It was a multi-century search for an expensive and deadly problem - how to calculate your position east and west at sea - one that pitted mechanics against astronomers, educated elitists against self taught workmen. It was a problem that was considered impossible to solve, and yet it had to be for there to be true global exploration. And the prize for the discovery was threefold: a kings ransom, the praise of the establishment, and the proof of the superiority of your method.
Sobel's treatment of the story was fair. She illuminated colorful personalities and conflicts, but for the bulk of the book she described the bureaucratic mire and spouted biographical information. The tale could have been told with more drama. How had the principal players interacted. Furthermore, more peripheral information about the longitude problem would have been interesting. For instance, how did other nations (i.e., Japan, China, Portugal, etc) approach the problem?
This is definitely a great read for all interested in the innovative process. If you want a good _story_ about longitude, try "The Island of the Day Before" by Umberto Eco. If you want the real scope, this is the one for you.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting, but could have been fascinating 22. Dezember 1999
Von Adelie
I've never spent much time wondering about measurement of distance or the development of timepieces, but I am interested in learning new things in almost any subject. So when I saw this book, my interest was piqued.
I looked forward to a fascinating story of the solution to the puzzle of longitude. Although that information was provided, I was somewhat disappointed.
The stories of the problems caused by lack of ability to locate outselves on the ocean were fascinating, in a terrible way - people who ventured onto the seas were almost surely doomed, unless they found land by a lucky fluke. But the story of the development of the solution to that problem was told in such a dry way that I felt little of the same excitement. I wanted to know more of why Harrison's opponents felt as strongly as they did, and why he didn't pursue the reward that was so clearly his. The cover blurb indicated that this would be the story not only of the development but also of the competition, in human terms, but that wasn't the case.
I learned a lot, but missed the excitement of learning. And I definitely feel that the book suffers mightily by lack of any illustrations at all. For technoboobs like me, with no knowledge of How Things Work And Why, illustrations, diagrams, photos, are essential to understanding. I understand that later editions of this book include illustrations - I read it in 1996. Perhaps the author has also seen fit to include more information about the human side of the project. Either way, though, the subject is interesting, so I can recommend it for that.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Lucky us that it was Dava Sobel 15. März 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
It's wonderful when just the right writer takes on a subject of particular interest to me. Dava Sobel, in her lean, crisp, yet penetrating style, captures the history of the development of that critical instrument -- the chronograph for mariners. How many ships, how many lives were saved by this one achievement? Dava told the story just right, in my opinion.
Not surprisingly, John Harrison learned that there was political finagling to contend with back then, as there is now. So his prize for solving the problem of keeping accurate time on ships wasn't as forthcoming as it should have been.
Fans of O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series will love "Longitude", and rejoice that the invention came along before Aubrey and Maturin's voyages. Those two encountered enough slings and arrows without having to wonder where in the world they were.
That old saw that claims "You can't tell a book . . ." is off the mark in this case. The designer of the jacket of Sobel's treasure was smack dab in harmony with the book.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Boring
I am quite disappointed, the book is written in a very boring style. If you'd read the relevant Wikipedia entry, you'd get more and more exciting information.
Vor 12 Monaten von Reinhard Grossmann veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Unbedingt die illustrierte Ausgabe nehmen
Die Suche nach einer zuverlässigen Berechnungsmethode für den Längengrad (der senkrechte Grad parallel zu Greenwich, das andere ist der Breitengrad), nahm seinerzeit... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 14. Januar 2013 von callisto
5.0 von 5 Sternen Elucidating
Dava Sobel presents in an entertainingly written style the competition of scientists approx. 200 years ago. She writes this novel without resorting to mathematical formulae. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 2. Juli 2009 von Dr. Martin Hennegriff
5.0 von 5 Sternen belletristisches Sachbuch
Das Buch gibt sehr interessante Einblicke in das Leben eines wahren Erfinders. Die Erläuterungen werden in einen Roman verpackt und sind bei vollem Informationsgehalt... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 31. Oktober 2004 von C. Wiedemann
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great !
Interessant und leicht verständlich! Für alle, die schon mal in Greenwich auf dem Nullten Längengrad standen, für alle Segler und alle, die sich für... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 30. September 2003 von senseandsensibility
3.0 von 5 Sternen Disappointing
An entertaining quick read, this account of John Harrison's amazing timepieces left me thoroughly unfulfilled. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 29. Juli 2000 von John Benson
3.0 von 5 Sternen Long(in places)itude
Easy read, but not much depth. No real motivations presented considering this man spent his entire life in the pursuit of a single goal. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 25. Juli 2000 von capt_tom
5.0 von 5 Sternen Scientist as Hero
In the early 18th century, one of greatest scientific problems was calculating longitude on the high seas. At the time, navigators had two choices, both treacherous. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 5. Juli 2000 von Jason Lockwood
5.0 von 5 Sternen An unexpected treat
A review from the author of DREAMING YOUR REAL SELF and DREAM BACK YOUR LIFE.
Hearing Dava Sobel on C-Span's Book TV, I was impressed with her clarity and enthusiasm enough to... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 2. Juli 2000 von Joan Mazza
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great Story and a very good popular account of Longtitude.
This author had worked very hard to gather the information to put together this wounderful book. Introducing history accounts, this books teaches as well as entertains. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 30. Juni 2000 von Arkadiy Ushakov
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