Eric Dubay
Eric Dubay

"In the interest of preserving for posterity the wealth of flat Earth knowledge and research done during the late 19th and early 20th century, I will be starting a series of audiobook and PDF downloads to make them more easily and widely available."

Today's selection is A.E. Skellam's 1893 booklet, "The Shape of the World." 

A.E. Skellam's 1893 booklet, "The Shape of the World," is a seminal work in the field of geodesy, outlining the scientific and technical progress made in the 19th century towards determining the actual shape of the world. As noted by the Royal Geographical Society journal, the publication revolutionized how the shape, size and structure of the earth were measured and analyzed.

The book consists of two parts. The first part of the book is an overview of Skellam’s work, outlining his development of the concepts and methods used to measure the curvature of the Earth’s surface. Skellam explains the steps taken to measure the girth of the earth and its rate of rotation, and how to take into account changes in the earth’s shape due to the compression or expansion of its surface layers. He also outlines various methods, such as triangulation, used to develop more accurate maps.

The second part of the publication focuses on the precise calculations needed to determine the precise shape of the Earth’s surface. Skellam explains the process of creating polar-stereographic maps and analyzes the accuracy of the results by comparing them to the average errors found in the previous maps created.

In the conclusion of his work, Skellam outlines the importance of the measurements discussed and their application for understanding and interpreting geographical, navigation and survey data. He summarizes his findings claiming that the measure of curvature he developed is “capable of approximating to the most accurate results.” The publication of "The Shape of the World" marked a significant step forward in the development of geodesy, and provided a foundational work for future research in the field.