The Great Arc

The Great Arc

The Dramatic Tale of How India Was Mapped and Everest Was Named

Book - 2000
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"The Great Arc

The Dramatic Tale Of How India Was Mapped And Everest Was Named

The Great Indian Arc of the Meridian, begun in 1800, was the longest measurement of the earth's surface ever to have been attempted. Its 1,600 miles of inch-perfect survey took nearly fifty years, cost more lives than most contemporary wars, and involved equations more complex than any in the precomputer age.

Rightly hailed as "one of the most stupendous works in the history of science, " it was also one of the most perilous. Through hill and jungle, flood and fever, an intrepid band of surveyors carried the Arc from the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent up into the frozen wastes of the Himalayas. William Lambton, an impossible martinet, completed it. Both found the technical difficulties horrendous. With instruments weighing a half-ton, their observations often had to be conducted from flimsy platforms ninety feet above the ground or form mountain peaks enveloped in blizzard. Malaria wiped out whole surbey parties; tigers and scorpions also took their toll. Yet the results were commensurate. The Great Arc made possible the mapping of the entire Indian sub-continent and teh development of its roads, railways and telegraphs. India as we now know it was defined in the process. The Arc also resulted in the first accurate measurements of the Himalayas, an achievement that was acknowledged by the naming of the world's highest mountain in honor

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2000.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780060195182
0060195185
Characteristics: xxi, 182 p. : ill., maps ; 22 cm.

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