Antikythera computer (a little bit OT)



#10

Forgive me if another person brought this to the attention of the forum already, but there seems to be a new video about a guy who reconstructed this device. No keys, no batteries, no LCD nor LED, no silicon -- only bronce and wood :)


#11

Since it doesn’t seem to be any use for sea navigation, im thinking it was a gift for someone important being transported when the boat sank. This would account for there being no historical reference to this item. Or perhaps it was made to order.

Nevertheless, I would expect some other historical documentation, or at least variant mechanisms – perhaps early prototypes out there or referenced somewhere.

Or perhaps it didn’t do any of this stuff at all!

#12

I hope someone, somewhere posts plans for constructing one!

Maybe I'd be happy with a Java version...


Ren
dona nobis pacem


#13

What surprised me was the mechanism was designed when the earth was still thought to be the center of the universe, and the planetary motions had to be computed in that context which surely involved some strange gearing. sam


#14

How about Eratosthenes, the guy who calculated Earth's distance from the sun, the tilt of the Earth's axis, circumference of the Earth and a few other things?


We were told that the ancients thought the world was flat and the centre of the universe and were generally a bunch of blood-thirsty narrow-minded barbarians... I am not sure that what we were told and taught wasn't a bit "biased" to make us believe that 20th century was the best of all times in the human history. Yes, the 20th century humans reached the Moon and made the HP 41C. But wasn't that scientific/engineering success built on generations and generations of knowledge? And wasn't it the progressive 20th century humankind who created two world wars, amongst a few other horrors? Do we really live in a totally enlightened humanistic world? Or have the ancients in other times and places had better environments for the development of human thought (albeit without the 41C)?


Antikythera appears to be an oddity, but it never really came as a surprise to me.


#15

Fully agreed... and 20,000 years before the 41C there was the oldest known mathematical object: the Ishango bone

#16

Quote:
...the ancients thought the world was flat and the centre of the universe and were generally a bunch of blood-thirsty narrow-minded barbarians...
In old Europe, this holds for the dark middle ages only, starting (sorry) when Christianity took over and ending with the Renaissance. Don't know about other parts of this planet. Maybe it's the wrong time for this statement, but anyway.

Edited: 21 Dec 2008, 3:17 p.m.

#17

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliocentric

So we can assume the Greek already went heliocentric 400-250BC, India sometimes around 800BC. The idea might have been discussed even before these dates - who knows.
After all, the mechanism is a true marvel, reportedly pretty accurate - and it took decades to collect the data points for the mathematical base calculations.

#18

Quote:
What surprised me was the mechanism was designed when the earth was still thought to be the center of the universe, and the planetary motions had to be computed in that context which surely involved some strange gearing. sam


Strange gearing indeed!
In the video you see that when the Earth overtakes an outer
planet, the pointer for that planet reverses (retrograde)
and reverses again!

Ren

dona nobis pacem


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