University of Cambridge - State-sponsored science

May 27, 2010

The origins of the longitude system used to chart how far east or west a ship at sea had reached will be the subject of a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Historians from the University of Cambridge and the National Maritime Museum will focus on the British Board of Longitude, established in 1714 to award a prize to anyone who could solve the problem of accurately measuring longitude. While the plaudits were won by self-educated clockmaker John Harrison, the researchers want to pay attention to the role played by the board itself and "the beginnings of government-sponsored science in Britain".

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