300 years is a long time in hi-tech research

All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner JA801A OKJThree hundred years ago, an act of parliament created a prize for the solving a then highly pressing technological problem: How a ship at see could work out where on Earth it actually was, in particular what its longitude was. If you are like me and always get longitude and latitude mixed up, longitude is position east-west, while latitude is north-south. As I learnt last week in a IoP South Central general talk by Dr Rebekah Higgitt, the biggest (of several) contributions to solving this was by John Harrison, who made the first clocks that were very accurate at sea.

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