The Great Indian Arc of the Meridian, begun in 1800, was the longest maesurement of the earth's surface ever to have been attempted. Its 1,600 miles of inch-perfect survey took nearly fifty years. Hailed as "one of the most stupendous works in the history of science," it was also one of the most perilous. Snowy mountains and tropical jungles, floods and fevers, tigers and scorpions all took their toll on the band of surveyors as they crossed the Indian subcontinent carrying instruments weighing half a ton.
Willian Lambton, an endearing genius, had conceived the idea; George Everest, an impossible martinet, completed it. This saga of astounding adventure and gigantic personalities not only resulted in the first accurate measurement of the highest peak in the world but defined India as we know it and significant advanced our scientific understanding of the planet.
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