Odds and quads - 22 August 2013

In 1714, an Act of Parliament set a top prize of £20,000 (now worth about £1.5 million) for a method of determining a ship’s position east and west from a fixed meridian line

August 22, 2013

It also created the Board of Longitude, whose complete archive is held by Cambridge University Library and includes the logbooks of Captain James Cook’s voyages, the first Western maps and descriptions of many Pacific places and peoples, two bound volumes of schemes by eccentric inventors, described as “wild proposals resulting from dreams”, and even a letter from Captain William Bligh of HMS Bounty in which he apologises for the loss of a timekeeper after his ship was “pirated from my command”.

All this, together with associated material from the collections of the National Maritime Museum, has just been made freely available via the Cambridge Digital Library website alongside the works of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. The site was launched in 2010 after a £1.5 million gift from the Polonsky Foundation. The longitude collection, which consists of more than 65,000 images, was funded by Jisc.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry