Antikythera Mechanism-HP Role Redux


It now seems certain that the Antikythera Mechanism is the world's oldest known analogue computer. HP's role in this discovery has been very important. You must read the article on this device in the current edition of "Nature" magazine (Nov 29). "Nature"'s report dosn't mention it, but HP's role was crucial in this unraveling of the raison d'etre of this machine, a "sophisticated predictor for the Sun/Moon/Earth system". HP's role was highlighted in the San Francico Chronicle's Business Section on Nov 30. The new knowledge was uncovered with the help of powerful X-ray technology and a sophisticated imaging system invented by HP called Reflectance Imaging. The technique involves taking photos and re-creating images of an object under different lighting conditions. An HP team traveled to Greece last year using this technology.

As "Nature" reports "the mechanism is technically more complex that any know device for at least a millennium afterwards.

"The ancient Antikythera Mechanism doesn't just challenge our assumptions about technology transfer over the ages -- it gives us fresh insights into history itself".



I forgot to mention that the date of the device is about 80 B.C.



Hi Trent,

thanks for the info - I follow the news about this device for quite some time now. Alas, my chances for accessing the articles you mentioned (especially the San Francisco Chronicle) aren't so good here in Germany. May I ask if you have a link on the Internet, where these articles can be found or could you send me scan ? That would be very nice.

Kind regards



Here's a link.



I get Science, not Nature, anyway to get copy of the article, (without paying the $40 Nature wants.




Here's the summary of it: Nature Article on Antikythera

Edited: 4 Dec 2006, 1:53 p.m.



Thank you for posting the Nature atricle on the Forum. I don't have the patience anymore.

It might be interesting to compare what was being written about the mechanism 47 years ago. Scientific American had an article about it in the June 1959 issue (per Google). I may have it, but it would be up in the attic. Do you think you could find the SA article and post it on the Forum too? Otherwise I will up there and try to find it.



The Nature article is just the editor's summary, I'd like to read the full text myself. Here's the 1959 Scientific American article on the Antikythera Device no need to rummage in the attic! :)


Thank uou, Katie!



And here is a picture of the gizmo, courtesy of the "Astronomy Picture of the Day" (a most fascinating site, but I admit to prejudice - I'm an astronomer!). (for Tuesday, December 5, 2006)

If you don't look at it today (Dec 5, 2006), you can click their back button to go as far back as you want. They also have a search option based on keywords.


Astronomy Picture of the Day is the first site I visit every morning. ;O)


Maybe it's an HP after all...

The HP-A

Hipparchus-Posidinius (Alpha)


Dave, you'll now have to make a museum entry for it!


If you want to make it sound really Greek ;-) the names shall end with -os. Your proposal looks like the export edition - renamed for Rome. d8-)


I love this thread!

Re: Greek and Latin plurals. This dissussion brings to mind William Saffire, the conservative columnist, but also a great word-smith for the New York Times, now retired. He has written many books on English language useage. In one of his columns he referred to the plural of the eight-legged sea amimal "octopus" as "octoupi". And much to his chagrin and credit he had to admit that a newly assigned aide, an English major grad just out of Columbia University, hired by the Times, told him that it was a Latin pural, not Greek, and that the correct pural was "octopuses".



... plural of the eight-legged sea amimal "octopus" as "octoupi". And much to his chagrin and credit he had to admit that (...) the correct pural was "octopuses".

Even if it should really be octopodes (see this link) :)


P.S. What about octopu**ies? Oooops!

Edited: 8 Dec 2006, 1:33 a.m.


The OED says you are correct, but the anglicized verison is octopuses. In other words not octopui.


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