Catalogue


Halley's quest : a selfless genius and his troubled Paramore /
Julie Wakefield.
imprint
Washington, DC : Joseph Henry Press, c2005.
description
vii, 261 p. : ill.
ISBN
0309095948
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Washington, DC : Joseph Henry Press, c2005.
isbn
0309095948
catalogue key
5568768
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-04-01:
Most readers will know Edmond Halley for the comet whose return he predicted on the basis of Newton's laws (one of the first verifications of the law of gravity) and whose name has immortalized him. But his Atlantic voyages, made in part to determine the nature of magnetic declination and the position of true as opposed to magnetic north, are largely forgotten. This story of Captain Halley, a crew of 18, and his ship Paramore is told in considerable detail, and demonstrates how Halley, expert at both the science and practice of navigation, set out to chart the latitudes and longitudes of numerous points on the west coast of Africa and the east coast of the Americas in the first "official" voyages for science. Halley hoped to answer why, if Earth were a permanent magnet, magnetism varied. He also charted the southern hemisphere stars and measured English Channel tides to precisely determine times of high and low tides. These played a role in book III of Newton's Principia, where Newton accounted for tidal phenomena based on his theory of lunar gravitation. In addition to a detailed account of Halley's career, Wakefield's account discusses the heated rivalries among Hooke, Flamsteed, Newton, and Halley. General bibliography; brief endnotes. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels. J. W. Dauben CUNY Herbert H. Lehman College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, October 2005
Wall Street Journal, December 2005
Choice, April 2006
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
For most people, Edmond Halley is best known for accurately predicting the periodic appearance of the comet that ultimately would bear his name. But his greatest achievement may have been overlooked - few people know that it was Halley who solved the riddle of accurate navigation for all sea-going vessels.
Description for Bookstore
For most people, Edmond Halley is best known for accurately predicting the periodic appearance of the comet that ultimately would bear his name. But his greatest achievement may have been overlooked- indeed few people know that it was Halley who solved the riddle of accurate navigation for all sea-going vessels. As seventeenth-century scientists gradually came to believe that the inside of the Earth was magnetized they were puzzled by the fact magnetic north not only varied slightly from place to place, but gradually changed over time, suggesting a slow variation of the Earth's magnetic field. But if the Earth was permanently magnetized, how could its magnetism vary? Edmond Halley, Britain's Astronomer Royal, ingeniously proposed that the Earth contained a number of spherical shells, one inside the other, each magnetized differently, each slowly rotating in relation to the others. This brilliant deduction earned Halley the command of a small sailing ship, the 52-foot Paramore , and with it, a royal mandate. Halley was to sail forth “to stand so far into the South, till you discover the Coast of the Terra Incognita.” But more importantly, determine the variation between true and magnetic north in order to more accurately calculate longitude-a feat that would improve Britain's navigational skills and ensure its dominance of the high seas. Halley's Quest takes readers on a trilogy of sea voyages, each of which proved to be as novel and revealing as it was difficult and controversial. But more than a yarn of risk and adventure, the story at the core of the book is a deeply personal and intellectual tale that captures the science and the spirit of an almost forgotten episode in the history of navigation. Once branded a heretic by the Church and denied a prestigious scholarly chair at Oxford University, Halley ultimately changed the course of science, producing charts that described more accurate ways to navigate and documenting new geophysical phenomena ranging from ocean patterns to the motion of Jupiter's moons. This delightful book emphasizes the drama of Halley's mission and the passion of an era hungry for the stories science had to tell.
Description for Bookstore
For most people, Edmond Halley is best known for accurately predicting the periodic appearance of the comet that ultimately would bear his name. But his greatest achievement may have been overlooked- indeed few people know that it was Halley who solved the riddle of accurate navigation for all sea-going vessels. As seventeenth-century scientists gradually came to believe that the inside of the Earth was magnetized they were puzzled by the fact magnetic north not only varied slightly from place to place, but gradually changed over time, suggesting a slow variation of the Earth's magnetic field. But if the Earth was permanently magnetized, how could its magnetism vary? Edmond Halley, Britain's Astronomer Royal, ingeniously proposed that the Earth contained a number of spherical shells, one inside the other, each magnetized differently, each slowly rotating in relation to the others. This brilliant deduction earned Halley the command of a small sailing ship, the 52-foot Paramore, and with it, a royal mandate. Halley was to sail forth "to stand so far into the South, till you discover the Coast of the Terra Incognita." But more importantly, determine the variation between true and magnetic north in order to more accurately calculate longitude-a feat that would improve Britain's navigational skills and ensure its dominance of the high seas. Halley's Questtakes readers on a trilogy of sea voyages, each of which proved to be as novel and revealing as it was difficult and controversial. But more than a yarn of risk and adventure, the story at the core of the book is a deeply personal and intellectual tale that captures the science and the spirit of an almost forgotten episode in the history of navigation. Once branded a heretic by the Church and denied a prestigious scholarly chair at Oxford University, Halley ultimately changed the course of science, producing charts that described more accurate ways to navigate and documenting new geophysical phenomena ranging from ocean patterns to the motion of Jupiter's moons. This delightful book emphasizes the drama of Halley's mission and the passion of an era hungry for the stories science had to tell.
Long Description
A NEW TAKE ON ONE OF HISTORY'S MOST FAMILIAR NAMES IN SCIENCE. AUTHOR JULIE WAKEFIELD DESCRIBES EDMOND HALLEY'S OVERLOOKED BUT PERHAPS MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION: SOLVING A KEY RIDDLE OF LONGITUDE TO ALLOW CONSISTENTLY ACCURATE NAVIGATION OF THE HIGH SEAS

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