Found 7 comments on HN
aguynamedben · 2015-11-23 · Original thread
There is an excellent book about "the Longitude problem" that details John Harrison and the invention of high precision chronometers: http://www.amazon.com/Longitude-Genius-Greatest-Scientific-P... Great short book for any engineer.
tajano · 2015-08-18 · Original thread
> "something as simple as keeping time"

Keeping time has been a difficult problem for... well, as long as we've tried keeping time. For an interesting historical account on past difficulties, you might check out the book "Longitude" [1].

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Longitude-Genius-Greatest-Scientific-P...

If you're interested in the historical setting of Longitude (and why it's in Greenwich to begin with), I highly recommend Dava Sobel's _Longitude_: http://www.amazon.com/Longitude-Genius-Greatest-Scientific-P...
lazyant · 2014-06-23 · Original thread
I guess the name comes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude_prize , btw the little book "Longitude" http://www.amazon.com/Longitude-Dava-Sobel-ebook/dp/B003WUYE... is a fantastic read about that topic
melling · 2013-02-28 · Original thread
Here's the author trying to explain how long Ang Lee spent working towards success:

"Imagine starting something now, this year, that you felt you were pretty good at, having won some student awards, devoting yourself to it full time…and then getting rejected over and over until 2019."

This reminds me of the "Story of Longitude" where John Harrison spent decades of his life in search of his prize (the first "X-Prize"?), and everyone is betting against him. How could a self-educated clockmaker beat the best minds of the day? Anyway it's a great story, which I've read a couple of times.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude_(book)

A few years ago when I was thinking up a name for my mobile "hobby start-up company", I took inspiration from Harrison and called my company h4labs (http://h4labs.com). His fourth clock (H4) won the prize. As a software developer, I image myself more as a craftsmen. I'm taking one idea and I'm going to refine it over several years. Hopefully, by my major forth version, I'll have something really worthwhile.

[Edit] Btw, here's the book: http://www.amazon.com/Longitude-Genius-Greatest-Scientific-P...

nikcub · 2012-12-14 · Original thread
A solution to an accurate measurement of longitude for shipping was one of the biggest scientific problems of the time and involved some of the brightest minds in the world working over decades and centuries.

After losing almost 2,000 sailors and 4 Navy ships in an accident attributed to poor navigation, the British government offered the Longitude Prize - which was worth millions of dollars in todays money.

From Gallileo and his method of timekeeping by tracking the moons of Jupiter, through to John Harrison and his invention of the chronometer - which ended up winning most of the Longitude Prize - the effort that went into finding a solution had many side effects for science and the solution opened up the world to better navigation and the eventual colonization.

The entire story is chronicled in the book 'Longitude'[0], which was a best seller in 1998. It is well worth a read. Wikipedia is also a good starting point for finding out more.[1]

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Longitude-Genius-Greatest-Scientific-P...

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_longitude

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