John Harrison Research Paper

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Longitude is a book about a man of humble beginnings. He never had a college education, but he had a thirst for knowledge. His name was John Harrison. He successfully made an extremely accurate clock for his day, the H-4. This helped mariners precisely pinpoint their location while at sea. The events took place during the early and mid 1700s. British exploration was becoming more and more popular as the 1700s approached. However there was a problem with their explorations. Many sailors would go missing, ships would be lost, or fleets would sink because no one could precisely navigate their vessels without the lines of longitude. The discovery of the lines of latitude had been discovered through an instrument that would measure the distance the sun was away from the earth. However sailors were in desperate need of the discovery of the more important lines, the longitudinal lines. Harrison theorized that if a clock could be accurate a…show more content…
They instituted the Longitude Act. This act said that if anyone discovered the lines of longitude they would be reward with 20,000 pounds. That is equivalent to a few million dollars in today’s currency. That is where John Harrison (a carpenter and clock maker) and many other astrologists and mathematicians came into play. They were all desperate to win the prize money, and a few of them came up with bazaar solutions to the problems (none worth mentioning). Sir Isaac Newton said the answer had to be in the celestial bodies. This spurred many astrologists to map the celestial bodies and make sense of how they could be related to the longitudinal lines. This was a plausible solution to the discovery of the longitude lines. Many of the astrologist’s and mathematician’s theories were concrete (Hadley’s quadrant and Mayer’s tables). A problem that could occur while relying on the stars and moon as guides is not every night is a clear night. Weather was and is unpredictable to an
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