Setting the scene/describing the problem
by Usha Chandrasehran
The Sea Before Time, by Dava Sobel, is an interesting topic that gets one’s mind thinking from various angles and also out of the box.
This chapter is basically written about how man relied on only latitude and deadly reckoning to sail around the world for war and trade in the 18th century. Their only idea of longtitude was based on historical evidence, traditional ‘methods’ and also self assumptions that eventually led to death, directly or indirectly.
Dava Sobel portrated the problem of longtitude by relating to two specific stories, one of Admiral Sir Clowdisley Shovell and his loss of the Association and 3 other ships and secondly Commodore George Anson and his loss of the Centurian. In both cases, the reluctance of both the chiefs had also led to the downfall of the vessels. For the Admiral, he had refused to have taken advice from an inferior crew and had summoned him to being hung right before the ship had struck the Scilly Isles. For the Commodore, devices like the longtitude clock were not readily accepted thus the ship had gone in rounds resulting in the crew suffering from scurvy and the ship undergoing a storm that could have been avoided.
In this whole chapter, the problem of longtitude was described in a story-like manner of brief historical evidence. History according to me, is a very important aspect when it comes to educating or informing the audience of the birth of a new device. But that only is never enough to prove. Scientific evidence, consisting of facts, mathematics, innovation, stories of success and examples should also be involved. Rather than just history of failure, measures which were taken to make that failure a success would be very important in having the audience believe in science and have more confidence in it.
In this 21st century, some people are still very skeptical in trusting and believing science. With an article as such, it is not only going to bring their impression of science down, but also get them thinking about trusting the new upcoming innovation these days.