Antikythera Mechanism is considered the oldest computer in the world and appeared before Bill Gates products for about 2000 years. The 2,100-year-old machine salvaged from a shipwreck more than a century ago has been confirmed as an astronomical supercomputer of the ancient world, demonstrating the advanced level of ancient science and technology of ancient Greeks. Scientists used twenty-first-century technology to explore the surface of the rusted gears machine called Antikythera, created by ancient Greeks. Viknews.com will provide you a detailed answer to questions “What is the Antikythera mechanism?” in the following article.
What is the Antikythera mechanism?
The Antikythera machine was built in Greece in 150-100 BC and is related to the mathematician and astronomer Hipparchos. But it was not until 1901 that the new machine became known when Greek divers discovered a Roman shipwreck and found eighty-two bronze debris.
At first, the debris that was being dense scaly and tightly bound together after lying on the seabed for more than two centuries was completely forgotten. But when you look more closely, they are sophisticatedly hand-cut gears. If these twenty-nine gears are assembled, it will create a fascinating astronomical calendar. But scientists have not found out exactly what this calendar is about.
“It has a beautifully designed. You have to gasp when you find out how they made this machine” – said astronomer Mike Edmunds of Cardiff University, UK – “It shows that the ancient Greeks had a mastery of science”.
The frame of the Antikythera machine
In a quarter of a century, the book of this extraordinary discovery was written by a historian of science and technology, Professor Derek de Solla Price at Yale University, England.
He hypothesized that the actual machine had thirty-one pinions and has amazingly uses. It binds the solar year with a 19-year cycle in the phases of the moon. It is the Metonic cycle, in which the moon take two hundred years, thirty months and five days of moon months to return to the same phase on the same day in the year.
Edmunds’ team, which includes experts from Britain, Greece and the United States, has taken the story to the next chapter. They use 3D radiography and high-resolution surface capture technology to peek through the surface of the machine without damaging the priceless masterpiece. They read the words written on bronze pinions that no one had ever seen since the Roman ship was buried in oblivion.
They found out that the original machine had thirty seven gears and two clock faces, front and back. It is attached to a thin wooden box measuring 31.5 x 19 x 10 cm. The machine’s severely corroded state made it impossible for scientists to analyze its exact composition. But it was believed that the device was made of low tin copper alloy with the share content is 95% of copper and 5% of tin.
There are small pieces that were temporarily cleaned up and people are looking for other debris that remained under the Mediterranean Sea. Some other parts may still be buried and unexplored since the first search. In 82 known debris, we have seven fragments are technically significant and contain many inscriptions.
The meaning of the Antikythera machine
The machine is a 365-day calendar, cleverly add a leap year in every 4 year period. It does not only provide information about the Metonic cycle but also the Callippic cycle, including 4 Metonic cycles minus 1 day to regulate the lunar calendar with the solar calendar.
It is also surmised the eclipse and lunar eclipse of the solar system – a 223-month repeatedly chase between the sun, the earth and the moon. This function can be used for religious purposes, whereby both the eclipse and lunar eclipse are considered to be a bad omen.
The machine is also a yearbook about stars, providing a time when big stars and constellations of the Greek zodiac will rise or dive. But there is a thing that even more impressive: that is a device which has a small-hole that describes the movement of the moon – which still make sky observers obsess for centuries.
According to the Antikythera machine, the moon moves across the sky at different speeds at different times because it has an elliptical orbit around the earth. “Newton once said he would think about this problem until he had a headache” – Edmunds said.
The new discovery has led scientists to speculate that the great Hipparchos, who drew up the list of the first stars and wrote about the moon’s path in the 2nd century BC, had contributed to the design of Antikythera machine. In the wrecked ship, people also discovered coins and jars from Rhodes, where Hipparchus used to live.
The researchers identified this astronomical machine is too advanced in technology and mathematics, making ancient Greek history need to be rewritten. All of the founded fragments of the Antikythera machine are being preserved at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, along with a large number of art reproductions and duplicates of this machine.