Star Clock BC: Antikythera Mechanism

2011, Science  -  50 min Leave a Comment
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Over a century ago, sponge divers recovered an extremely complex mechanical device from a shipwreck. Hidden among a rich cache of bronze and marble statues, glassware and amphorae was a mechanism the size of a shoe box. Inside the mechanism were mathematical gears and pointers.

The Ancient Greeks were known to be philosophers, poets, and mathematicians but there was nothing in the archaeological record to suggest that they were also technicians capable of creating something so complex. It has taken researchers 100 years to understand what the mechanism does.

Dubbed the Antikythera mechanism (for the location of the shipwreck from which it came), the device is considered the world's first computer, developed by the Greeks around the 1st century B.C. Scientists continue to marvel at its intricate system of gears which rival that of the most complex Swiss watch.