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

By Alexander Jones

From the lifeless Sea Scrolls to the Terracotta military, old artifacts have lengthy interested the trendy global. notwithstanding, the significance of a few discoveries isn't really regularly instantly understood. This used to be 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 chanced on the oldest identified analog machine on the earth, an dazzling machine that after simulated the motions of the celebs and planets as they have been understood by way of historic Greek astronomers. Its is still 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, a number of the 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 gadget labored, how and for what function it used to be 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 really extraordinary. The mechanical information that it embodied used to be extra complicated than something the Greeks have been formerly idea able to, however the most modern study has printed that its screens have been designed in order that an informed layman may possibly comprehend the habit of astronomical phenomena, and the way intertwined they have been with one's normal and social setting. It used to be straight away a masterpiece of equipment in addition to one of many first moveable educating units. Written by means of a world-renowned specialist at the Mechanism, A transportable Cosmos will fascinate all readers drawn to historic background, archaeology, and the heritage of science.

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

Sample text

Rediadis therefore proposed that the Mechanism’s gears served the same purpose as the stereographic mapping on conventional astrolabes; that is, they mechanically translated an observed altitude of the Sun or a star into angles displayed by pointers that represented the positional and temporal data that the ancient navigator required. Rediadis did not try to show how a system of gears could convert an altitude angle into, say, the time of day. Generally speaking, one is struck by how little his interpretation of the Mechanism’s purpose depended on his detailed observations of the fragments and his erroneous attempt to fit the fragments together.

If this “slab” was a part of the Mechanism (we may as well give it the dignity of a capital letter from now on), and there really does not seem to be another plausible candidate, the absence of any mention of wheels or gears is striking. When the fragments came to notice in 1902, the gears were as obvious, and as obviously interesting, as the inscription. ) It would seem, therefore, that the object as brought out of the sea had a different appearance; it was likely an aggregate comprising several of the pieces as they were later known, and the mechanical components were still hidden inside.

Toward the end of the day, Wilhelm, pressed by the reporters for his opinion, said cautiously that much more work would be needed before one 18 18 A Portable Cosmos could assign a definite date to the writing, but that it appeared to belong to the second or first century BC. He also revealed that a phrase meaning “ray of the Sun” could be read, suggesting that they were looking at the remains of a nautical instrument for astronomical observation. Svoronos, on the other hand, had a full prepared statement for the reporters, complete with a transcription of parts of seven lines of text—​totaling 47 letters, all but one of them correct.

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