Scientists Finally Discover the Function of 2,100 Year Old Computer

Sunday, 19 June 2016 - 11:56AM
Weird Science
Astronomy
Sunday, 19 June 2016 - 11:56AM
Scientists Finally Discover the Function of 2,100 Year Old Computer
Since it was discovered in a shipwreck off the coast of Crete in 1901, the sophisticated-beyond-its time Antikythera Mechanism has left scientists in awe. We know that the complex mechanism of revolving bronze gears and a display was used by ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago to calculate the positions of the stars and the planets. Now, scientists have discovered that what is described as the world's first analog computer could have also been used for astrological purposes as well. 

For more than ten years, researchers have been trying to decipher the tiny engravings on the mechanism, which have been badly corroded from decades of water and wildlife exposure. But thanks to cutting edge image technologies like X-ray scanning, the team was able to see past the many layers of sediment and actually read the 3,500 character text.

Opening quote
"It's a lot of detail for us because it comes from a period from which we know very little about Greek astronomy and essentially nothing about the technology, except what we gather from here, so these very small texts are a very big thing for us," Alexander Jones, a professor of the history of ancient science at NYU, told The AP

"We are not quite sure how to interpret [the inscriptions], but they could hark back to suggestions that the color of an eclipse was some sort of omen or signal," said Mike Edmunds from the University of Cardiff's astrophysics department.
Closing quote


Jones and colleagues confirmed that some of the mechanisms had the function of predicting solar and lunar eclipses, events which the Ancient Greeks believed could impact human affairs. As such, aside from its astronomical purpose, the Antikythera Mechanism was also a trusted tool for predicting the future.

Opening quote
"This is the first instance we have in the mechanism of any real mention of astrology rather than astronomy," said Edmunds.
Closing quote


Other important findings that resulted from the interpretation of the text included that the Antikythera Mechanism was made on the island of Rhodes by at least two people, based on how the engravings were etched. Archeologists are still searching for other missing fragments at the shipwreck site which, if found, could mean that this technology is even more complex than we could possibly imagine. 
Science
Space
Weird Science
Astronomy

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