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    Re: Teaching the discovery of the longitude
    From: Paul Werner
    Date: 2011 Mar 15, 07:20 -0700

    Science and technology - a very interesting approach. But are they really in contrast to each other? That is of course a question of definitions. To me technology “in the modern word” is practice founded on science and experience combined, in contrast to practice founded only on pure experience. Technology can, in this perhaps narrow sense of the concept, never be “independent” of science. I am naturally aware of that there are other definitions and exactly that is my point. The dependence of technology on science is, as often when concepts are discussed, a question of definitions.

    Concerning Harrison’s chronometers – technology, i.e. science and experience combined, or pure experience? I don’t know. My guess is technology. And, besides, what would Harrison do with his chronometers without Maskelyne’s astronomy? Longitude by chronometer and longitude by lunars are both technologies and depend on the science of astronomy.

    I don’t read Dava Sobel’s Longitude as history of technology. It is rather a social story, a “sobbing story”, with nearly a happy end; a brilliant craftsman repressed by a narrow-minded society and getting his well deserved money too late.

    Paul Werner

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