sabato 27 ottobre 2012

The Antikythera Mechanism: World's oldest computer

This documentary investigates the Antikythera Mechanism, a computer-like device that may have been used to calculate the movements of stars and planets. It also highlights ancient inventors Archimedes and Ctesibius. The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900--1901 from the Antikythera wreck. Its significance and complexity were not understood until decades later. Its time of construction is now estimated between 150 and 100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity and workmanship did not reappear in Europe until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks were built in Europe. Jacques-Yves Cousteau visited the wreck for the last time in 1978, but found no additional remains of the Antikythera mechanism. Professor Michael Edmunds of Cardiff University who led the most recent study of the mechanism said: "This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind. The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely carefully ... in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa." The device is displayed at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, accompanied by a reconstruction made and donated to the museum by Derek de Solla Price.

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