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National Maritime Museum: Ships, Clocks and Stars: the Quest for Longitude

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Not being able to pinpoint where you were at sea posed a huge problem to sailors, traders and navigators for centuries, prolonging voyages, wrecking ships and costing lives. The Longitude Act passed in July 1714, set the scene for a race of enormous importance, with great prestige and life-changing sums of money up for grabs, with the top scientific minds of the age pitted against each other to solve the ‘unsolvable’. Centuries later, the science they developed still influences critical areas of modern life, from SatNav and mobile phones to international time zones. In this landmark exhibition, delve into a dramatic story of invention and intrigue, which captured the imaginations and talents of astronomers, skilled artisans, politicians, seamen and satirists. Discover how the critical problem of finding where you were at sea preoccupied the greatest minds of the eighteenth century; explore the ideas that went into solving the world’s biggest challenge; and learn how the science still impacts on so much of our lives today.