Computers - Software Hardware : the Antikythera Mechanism

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by jamesfrmphilly, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    [​IMG]

    The antikythera mechanism is currently housed in the Greek National Archaeological Museum in Athens and is thought to be one of the most complicated antiques in existence. At the beginning of the 20th century, divers off the island of Antikythera came across this clocklike mechanism, which is thought to be at least 2,000 years old, in the wreckage of a cargo ship. The device was very thin and made of bronze. It was mounted in a wooden frame and had more than 2,000 characters inscribed all over it. Though nearly 95 percent of these have been deciphered by experts, there as not been a publication of the full text of the inscription.

    Today it is believed that this instrument was a kind of mechanical analog computer used to calculate the movements of stars and planets in astronomy. It has been estimated that the antikythera mechanism was built around 87 B.C and was lost in 76 B.C. No one has any idea about why or how it came to be on that ill-fated cargo ship. The ship was Roman though the antikythera mechanism was developed in Greece. One theory suggests that the reason it came to be on the Roman ship could be because the instrument was among the spoils of war garnered by then Roman emperor Julius Caesar.

    X-rays of the device have indicated that there are at least 30 different gears present in it. British historian Derek Price has done extensive research on what the antikythera mechanism may have been used for. It was not until 1959 that Price put forth the theory that the device was used in astronomy to make calculations and predictions. In 1974, Price presented a model of how the antikythera mechanism might have functioned. When past or future dates were entered into the device it calculated the astronomical information related to the Sun, Moon, and other planets.

    http://www.antikythera-mechanism.com
     
  2. dunwiddat

    dunwiddat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Interesting...so the folks today are not as bright as they think...hhhmmm.:)
     
  3. Shikamaru

    Shikamaru Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I wonder what ancient analog computers our ancestors designed?

    Knowing the ancient Greeks, they probably got this from one of them....LOL.
     
  4. Chevron Dove

    Chevron Dove Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I saw this nformation and planned to share it with my kids this past winter break! I remember that one article said this 'computer' was made around the 300s B.C. by the Greeks. If this is true then, this complex computer opens the door to a lot of hidden history. One article said that a lot of information was lost due to deliberate actions of people in the past who burnt up ancient libraries such as the one in Alexandria and etc.
     
  5. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    it was found on a greek ship. that doesn't mean that the greeks MADE it.
     
  6. Chevron Dove

    Chevron Dove Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    true, but I think it could have been the greeks though, because their civilization was at a height around that time. Also, when I think of 'the ancient Greeks', I'm referring to 'the original Greeks' [or Black Greeks] like the 'Dorians', 'the Pelops' and so many others that the White Greeks came in on top of and they began their era by building up on top of these older 'Black' Greeks. In my opinion, that 'computer' may have been invented based upon the original Greeks and etc., scholars from Africa, and that may be why the libraries were burned and the origins of how it came to be was hidden. The White Greeks changed the entire civilizations of the earlier 'Black Greeks' and began their Classical Age around that time this 'computer' was said to have been invented if it was dated to be around the 200s BC or thereabouts. This was during the Punic War times when the Romans and Greeks warred. Didn't Alexander-the-great come on the scene at this time, in the 300s BC, and went into Egypt and became regarded as a pharaoh, at that time[?].
     
  7. Chevron Dove

    Chevron Dove Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Here are some of my notes that I re-read. Apparently and as i said before, 'they' are vague on the definitive dates when this 'computer' was invented. Some write 100s BC or later, some write the 200s BC or earlier. And then the other objects found in the shipwreck go back to the 400s BC [the 5th century bce].
    .
    Some sources say that several writers in antiquity such as Cicero mentioned the existence of similar machines. Here is a quote from one source:
    .
    The BBC4 programme-makers endorse the view that clues on the mechanism point to its origin in Corinth and that it can therefore be plausibly attributed to the great Archimedes (c287 BC – c212 BC), mathematician and physicist extraordinary.
    .
    …Yet this takes me to Point No 2. Why didn't we all learn about this in school, if not in my school days when the late Derek de Solla Price, one of this saga's heroes, was spending years trying to rebuild the mechanism, then later? Why didn't my kids or yours get this staggering intellectual achievement of the ancient world thrust down their complacent throats?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jun/06/extraordinary-2000-year-old-computer
    .

    So, Archimedes life span could put this invention to be around the 300s bc, but I still believe it was much earlier than that. And, here is a really informative and brief youtube showing a photo of it in the Greek museum in Athens:
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=UpLcnAIpVRA&NR=1
    .
    I can't get it to embed.
     
  8. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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  9. Chevron Dove

    Chevron Dove Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    awesome!

    The picture of how this ancient bronze 'machine' [computer] resembled is incredible. The fact that it was said to have some 60+ gears [cogwheels] with teeth that interlocked the gears is astonishing! The fact that it was said to be so small and obviously designed so intricately is mind blowing to me and makes me wonder about other hidden histories.
     
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