Book Review: Longitude by Dava Sobel (Three Stars)

Book Review: Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel (Three Stars)

Harrison stood alone against the vested navigational interests of the scientific establishment. He became entrenched in this position by virtue of his own high standards and the high degree of skepticism expressed by his opponents.

Fascinating but too much fluff. Should have left it as the magazine article it originally was. I’ve learned to be wary of books with paragraph-length subtitles. This one was a unnecessary as most.

A novel antifriction device that Harrison developed for H-3 also survives to the present day—in the caged ball bearings that smooth the operation of almost every machine with moving parts now in use.

John Harrison was one of those lonely geniuses who labors against the scientific (and wrong) tide of his day. All the great and worthy members of the Board of Longitude knew he was wrong; some actively sabotaged his efforts. Harrison never got the credit (or credits) he was due, but the world of navigation (and beyond) benefited by his monomania.

With his marine clocks, John Harrison tested the waters of space-time. He succeeded, against all odds, in using the fourth—temporal—dimension to link points on the three-dimensional globe. He wrested the world’s whereabouts from the stars, and locked the secret in a pocket watch.