A Portable Cosmos: Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, by Alexander Jones

By Alexander Jones

From the useless Sea Scrolls to the Terracotta military, historic artifacts have lengthy interested the trendy global. besides the fact that, the significance of a few discoveries isn't really constantly instantly understood. This was once the case in 1901 whilst sponge divers retrieved a lump of corroded bronze from a shipwreck on the backside of the Mediterranean Sea close to the Greek island of Antikythera. Little did the divers understand that they had stumbled on the oldest recognized analog desktop on the earth, an impressive machine that when simulated the motions of the celebrities and planets as they have been understood by means of historic Greek astronomers. Its continues to be now encompass eighty two fragments, lots of them containing gears and plates engraved with Greek phrases, that scientists and students have pieced again jointly via painstaking inspection and deduction, aided through radiographic instruments and floor imaging. greater than a century after its discovery, the various secrets and techniques locked during this mysterious machine can now be printed.

In addition to chronicling the not going discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism, writer Alexander Jones takes readers via a dialogue of ways the machine labored, how and for what goal it was once created, and why it was once on a boat that wrecked off the Greek coast round 60 BC. What the Mechanism has exposed approximately Greco-Roman astronomy and medical know-how, and their position in Greek society, is actually extraordinary. The mechanical knowledge that it embodied was once extra complex than whatever the Greeks have been formerly concept in a position to, however the latest learn has printed that its screens have been designed in order that an informed layman may comprehend the habit of astronomical phenomena, and the way intertwined they have been with one's traditional and social surroundings. It was once right now a masterpiece of equipment in addition to one of many first moveable instructing units. Written by way of a world-renowned specialist at the Mechanism, A moveable Cosmos will fascinate all readers attracted to old background, archaeology, and the background of science.

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Additional resources for A Portable Cosmos: Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, Scientific Wonder of the Ancient World

Sample text

Spyridon Stais stands on the upper deck, between the ropes, wearing a fedora and with his hand on the head of one of the divers; to the right of him, also in a fedora and with one hand on the rail, is Kavvadias. Directly below Stais, in a wide-​brimmed hat, is Fotios Lindiakos, and to the left of Lindiakos and immediately left of the ropes is Kontos. ” Ten days later, on June 24, To Asty published a telegram that appeared on the face of it scarcely more exciting: There has been found … one slab with an inscription, whose letters however could not be copied.

Despite the fact that he published his paper in French, so that it was accessible to foreign scholars, its few pages had little impact, and more than 20 years would elapse before the Mechanism would again be the subject of original research. By then, practically everyone closely involved in studying the Mechanism had died, and the stage was clear for a new beginning. A computer? ” Late that year he made the first discovery that would bring him fame, a 14th-​century manuscript in the library of Peterhouse, Cambridge, containing a description in Middle English of an astronomical calculating instrument called an equatorium; Price argued on circumstantial grounds that this was a hitherto unknown work of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Stais, a former schoolteacher with scientific training and broad culture, must have consulted the archeologists of the government service (who immediately recognized that what the divers had found was a Greco-​Roman shipwreck) and then worked quickly, promising the divers generous payment if they proved capable of recovering objects from the site, and arranging with the Greek navy for the loan of a transport ship. The newspapers of Athens followed every development, and stories on the “archeological treasure in the deep” continued to be printed, often on the front page (most newspapers consisted of only four pages), through the duration of the project.

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