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The Board of Longitude and the Equatorie of the Planetis, both hosted on Cambridge Digital Library, are among six projects to have been shortlisted for the British Society for the History of Science's inaugural Ayrton Prize, established to recognise “outstanding web projects and digital engagement in the history of science, technology and medicine”.

The Board of Longitude Project, a collaboration with the National Maritime Museum and a research project based at HPS in Cambridge, put online one of the most important archives for the study of the history of science in 18th century.  It comprises an edition of the entire extant Board of Longitude archive as well as other papers at Cambridge University Library, together with associated manuscript and printed material from the National Maritime Museum and other archives, totalling around 65,000 digital images. Wrapped up in nearly 100,000 words of contextual material, and accompanied by short films and schools resources, the archive tells the story of scientific endeavour, both rational and irrational, voyages of discovery and first contact between European and Pacific cultures, along with a vast incoming correspondence giving an amazing insight into life in the 18th century.

The Equatorie of the Planetis is a superbly detailed resource based around a fascinating fourteenth century manuscript owned by Peterhouse. The text describes an instrument for calculating the position of the planets, along with instructions on its construction. The manuscript itself was once thought to be a Chaucer autograph, but the latest research points to John Westwyk, a Benedictine monk of Tynemouth Priory and St Albans Abbey, whose own story is one of dramatic contrasts. Accompanied by detailed explanatory notes, transcription and translation, the resource includes an innovative virtual model, complete with instructions, which lets you use the instrument just as a medieval scholar would have done.

The Ayrton Prize is named to recognise the major contributions of Hertha Ayrton (1854-1923) to numerous scientific fields, especially electrical engineering and mathematics, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Members of the BSHS can vote for their preferred project using the link at the bottom of the Ayrton Prize page. Voting closes at 3pm on Friday 20th November.