Sarah Ray
Posted: January 14, 2002

VT - Dava Sobel, a former New York Times science
reporter and author of the best-selling book “Longitude,”
will deliver the commencement address at Middlebury
College’s graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 26. She will
receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest
Scientific Problem of His Time” was first published in 1995
and is now in its 23rd hardcover printing. Translated into
two-dozen foreign languages, the book became a national and
international best seller. Book News called it an
“engrossing story of John Harrison’s (1693-1776) 40-year
obsession with ‘the longitude problem’ which resulted in
what is known today as the chronometer, a tool that finally
made accurate ocean navigation possible.”

The book won
several literary prizes, including the Harold D. Vursell
Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and
Letters. Together with William J.H. Andrewes, who introduced
Sobel to the subject of “Longitude,” she co-authored “The
Illustrated Longitude,” which was published in

According to
Middlebury College President John M. McCardell Jr., Sobel’s
work has encouraged an awareness of science and technology
amongst a wide audience. McCardell said, “We are honored to
recognize her talent for demystifying what can be complex
scientific subjects and making them accessible to the
general public.”

Sobel has
been to the Middlebury campus on one previous occasion in
1997 when she gave a lecture and participated in a
philosophy class.

Sobel’s most
recent book is “Galileo’s Daughter,” which was published in
1999. She based it on 124 surviving letters Galileo received
from his eldest child, which she translated from the
original Italian. “Galileo’s Daughter” won several awards,
including the 1999 Los Angeles

Times Book
Prize for science and technology. The paperback edition was
the number-one New York Times nonfiction best seller for
five consecutive weeks.
In her 30 years as a science journalist, she has written for
many magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Life and The
New Yorker; served as a contributing editor to Harvard
Magazine and Omni; and co-authored six books, including “Is
Anyone Out There?” with astronomer Frank Drake.

Sobel has
lectured widely and made a number of appearances on national
broadcast media. A frequent guest on National Public Radio
shows such as “All Things Considered,” she has also appeared
on NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “World News Tonight.”

A 1964
graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Sobel attended
Antioch College and the City College of New York before
receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the State
University of New York at Binghamton. She lives in East
Hampton, N.Y.