Ships, Clocks, and Stars: The Quest for Longitude




Ships, Clocks, and Stars: The Quest for Longitude

This large format book was originally published as the companion catalog for a well done exhibit at the Greenwhich oberservatory in England.  As such it is a well written and photographed history of finding a practical means to determine the longitude of a ship at sea.

A tale of eighteenth-century invention and competition, commerce and conflict, this is a lively, illustrated, and accurate chronicle of the search to solve “the longitude problem,” the question of how to determine a ship’s position at sea—and one that changed the history of mankind.

Ships, Clocks, and Stars brings into focus one of our greatest scientific stories: the search to accurately measure a ship’s position at sea. The incredible, illustrated volume reveals why longitude mattered to seafaring nations, illuminates the various solutions that were proposed and tested, and explores the invention that revolutionized human history and the man behind it, John Harrison. Here, too, are the voyages of Captain Cook that put these revolutionary navigational methods to the test.

Filled with astronomers, inventors, politicians, seamen, and satirists, Ships, Clocks, and Stars explores the scientific, political, and commercial battles of the age, as well as the sailors, ships, and voyages that made it legend—from Matthew Flinders and George Vancouver to the voyages of the Bounty and the Beagle.

Featuring more than 150 photographs specially commissioned from Britain’s National Maritime Museum, this evocative, detailed, and thoroughly fascinating history brings this age of exploration and enlightenment vividly to life.

About the Author

Richard Dunn is the Senior Curator and Head of Science and Technology at Royal Museums Greenwich.

Rebekah Higgitt is a Lecturer in History of Science at the University of Kent, and former Curator of History of Science and Technology at Royal Museums Greenwich.

Both authors are part of a major research project on the history of the British Board of Longitude. This groundbreaking research is done in collaboration with the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.


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