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Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude

Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude

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Item Number:
54 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
7 - 12
Before global positioning systems, modern map making—even before America was America—the concept of longitude was just a dream. Without its guidance, navigation in the 1700s was both unpredictable and deadly...until one man solved the mystery. Richard Dreyfuss narrates this dramatic recreation of longitude's difficult birth, and the remarkable history-making life of a humble, ingenious country carpenter named John Harrison.

With no formal education, Harrison used his boundless imagination to overcome a world of skepticism and best the world's greatest thinkers. Discovering that the secret to navigation lay not just in the stars, but in mastering the power of time, Harrison made longitude as predictable as the sunrise. And, although it took him 58 years, Harrison finally won £20,000 (worth millions in today's dollars) and the overdue recognition as "the Father of Longitude." Now, expert insights and fascinating details reveal the measure of one man's amazing impact. Climb aboard an authentic tall ship and go back in time to see history—and longitude—in the making.

Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; and closed captions.

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