Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time Quiz | Two Week Quiz A

Dava Sobel
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This quiz consists of 5 multiple choice and 5 short answer questions through Chapter 9: Hands on Heaven's Clock.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. How did astronomers feel about Harrison's clock idea for solving the problem of longitude?
(a) They thought that it was outrageous because it didn't require the intellect of the lunar theory.
(b) They thought it ridiculous because it would be too expensive to mass produce clocks.
(c) They thought it had promise and could be used in conjunction with the lunar theory.
(d) They saw potential but were still very skeptical.

2. What does the coiled balance spring do in clocks?
(a) Prevents the pendulum from losing time.
(b) Allows the clock to keep a constant temperature.
(c) Allows the navigator to know the time in the home port.
(d) Prevents waves from destabilizing the clock.

3. How was John Harrison educated?
(a) He learned alongside Newton.
(b) He went to Oxford.
(c) He had no formal education.
(d) He attended elementary school in his town.

4. What could have avoided the tragedy near the Scilly Islands?
(a) If the stars had been out so the captains could utilize them for navigation.
(b) If the lead ship had followed the directions of the admiral.
(c) If the admiral had listened to a sailor who kept his own navigation.
(d) If the rudder on the ship hadn't been broken, the captain could have steered away from the islands.

5. Who was famous for reducing the motion of the planets to a few equations?
(a) Isaac Newton.
(b) John Hadley.
(c) John Harrison.
(d) Leonhard Euler.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was the tool introduced by John Davis in 1595 to better look at the sun called?

2. What advantage did the magnetic variation method have over astronomical approaches at determining longitude?

3. After the Association ran aground and the captain's body was found, what of value was found on him?

4. What did Edmund Halley successfully predict?

5. What did Huygen's published argument state?

(see the answer key)

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