Antikythera Mechanism, The Worlds First Computer
This is pretty interesting, I saw an article about it a couple days ago, but didn’t get time to read it, the NYTimes has an article on the Antikythera Mechanism now called An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists, and it details how the first thought it calculated and illustrated astronomical information, particularly phases of the Moon and planetary motions, in the second century B.C, but some now think it is more complex than any device that came after it for up to 1000 years. Apparently, the technology was not spread to any other areas from the Greco-Roman world in which it was created, and it eventually had to be re-created by someone else.
The Antikythera Mechanism, sometimes called the world?s first computer, has now been examined with the latest in high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography. A team of British, Greek and American researchers was able to decipher many inscriptions and reconstruct the gear functions, revealing, they said, ?an unexpected degree of technical sophistication for the period.?
The mechanism, presumably used in preparing calendars for seasons of planting and harvesting and fixing religious festivals, had at least 30, possibly 37, hand-cut bronze gear-wheels, the researchers reported. An ingenious pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon?s elliptical orbit around Earth.
The functions of the mechanism were determined by the numbers of teeth in the gears. The 53-tooth count of certain gears, the researchers said, was ?powerful confirmation of our proposed model of Hipparchos? lunar theory.’ Source: NYTimes
This is pretty interesting, I wonder if they are planning on re-creating the device to see if they can make it do what they think it can? They are speculating that Hipparchos created the device, because of an ingenious pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon?s elliptical orbit around Earth.