The man who solved the problem of longitude

Originally published at:

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Both highly recommended.

Sobel’s other stuff is good, too. Galileo’s Daughter is wonderfully done.


That series by the BBC is quite good. I remember watching it on A&E when it first aired in the US. I wish I had time to re-watch the whole thing, but here it is and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.


Full 3.5 hour miniseries…

Never have read the book. I might have to put it on my admittedly long reading list.


And there is also this:

The original webpage untouched since 1998!


Yep, I came here to say that. The book was fantastic, and so was the series. Sobel turned what sounds like a terribly dry history topic into a very enjoyable story without having to fudge any of the details. A great blending of history with story telling.


“This time next year, we’ll be millionaires, Rodney.”

(Ref the episode of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ where Del and Rodney realise they have a genuine long lost Harrison timepiece and finally do really become millionaires. )

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I seem to remember reading somewhere that Chinese sailors could calculate longitude long before European ones could, but I could be mistaken.

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Longitude could be calculated before Harrison, but not reliably, and it only takes a tiny error to kill a ship.


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