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    Re: Dava Sobel
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2006 Apr 28, 09:56 -0400

    On Apr 28, 2006, at 9:44 AM, Alexandre E Eremenko wrote:
    
    > George,
    >
    >> which led indirectly to the Longitude Act and the Longitude Prize and
    >> then to the Nautical Almanac and to Harrison's chronometer.
    >
    > Do you really think that these things would not be invented without
    > the
    > Longitude Act? Maybe 10 years later, at most:-)
    >
    
    Alex,
    
    It's clear from Sobel's book, if nothing else is clear from that
    book, that the quest for the prize was a major motivating factor for
    Harrison.  I believe without the prize, a chronometer might have
    taken another 50-100 years; it was clearly a work of genius by one
    man, highly motivated.  The Act and Prize also emphasized the
    importance of this quest to the lunarians, although I agree they
    would have achieved their objective without them.  However, it's
    unclear whether the laborious calculations of the distances for the
    almanac would have been undertaken without the additional importance
    contributed by the Act and Prize.
    
    Fred
    
    
    

       
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