The discovery of the remains of a A 2,000-year-old computeramazingly complex and confusing scientists.
The Antikythera mechanism, an ephemeris, has been called the “first computer” and generations of scientists have been baffled by its discovery inside a Greek shipwreck in 1901.
It is a manual timekeeping instrument that uses a system of wings to track the celestial time of the sun, moon, and planets. It also acts as a calendar that records the phases of the moon and the times of eclipses.
Although it appeared relatively simple, the mechanism was ahead of its time, being more technically advanced than any other tool invented in the next thousand years.
In its present condition, the mechanism exists in 82 separate pieces, of which only a third of its original structure remains, including 30 corroded bronze cogwheels.
UCL (University College London) experts investigated the device using 3D computer modeling, which helped them solve the mystery of its operation and discovered a “creation of genius”.
“We think our reconstruction fits with all the evidence that scientists have obtained from the remains found so far,” Adam Wojcic, a materials scientist at UCLA, said at the time.
According to his theory, the device was tracking the movement of the sun, moon, and planets in concentric rings, as the ancient Greeks believed that the sun and planets revolved around the earth, not the sun.
The researchers explain this in Scientific reports: “Solving this complex three-dimensional puzzle reveals the creation of genius: a combination of courses from Babylonian astronomy, the mathematics of the Academy of Athens, and ancient Greek astronomical theories.”
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