Decoding the Heavens: Solving the Mystery of the World's First Computer

Decoding the Heavens: Solving the Mystery of the World's First Computer

Jo Marchant

Language: English

Pages: 213

ISBN: 043401835X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In 1900 a group of sponge divers blown off course in the Mediterranean discovered an Ancient Greek shipwreck dating from around 70 BC. Lying unnoticed for months amongst their hard-won haul was what appeared to be a formless lump of corroded rock, which turned out to be the most stunning scientific artefact we have from antiquity. For more than a century this 'Antikythera mechanism' puzzled academics, but now, more than 2000 years after the device was lost at sea, scientists have pieced together its intricate workings. In Decoding the Heavens, Jo Marchant tells for the first time the story of the 100-year quest to understand this ancient computer. Along the way she unearths a diverse cast of remarkable characters -- ranging from Archimedes to Jacques Cousteau -- and explores the deep roots of modern technology not only in Ancient Greece, the Islamic world and medieval Europe.

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Example, which sank in around 100 BC on its way to Rome from Athens, was carrying a load of 70 giant marble columns. From circumstantial evidence, then, one thing that Staïs and Svoronos could agree on was that the ship bearing the Antikythera mechanism was probably a Roman vessel, loaded with artworks and other treasures looted from Greek cities. There the matter rested until many decades and two world wars later, when a new generation of archaeologists and divers became interested in the.

Them off at the edges it worked sweetly – much better than Price’s model. Wright, meanwhile, was rapidly losing faith that any part of Price’s reconstruction could be trusted. The only way to find out for sure was to go and study the fragments. Then, just before Christmas 1989 Bromley swept into Wright’s office bearing a triumphant air not dissimilar to the one that Judith Field had worn when she brought him the Byzantine sundial six years earlier. ‘I’ve just come from Athens!’ he announced.

Metres before dropping off again to deeper water. Ikonomu and Kontos had agreed a plan of action. Light objects from the sunken cargo were to be attached to ropes and raised using winches attached to the divers’ own boats, and heavier ones were to be lifted with the sturdier hoist of the Mykale. But in that first run, the sea was still pretty rough. Swells from the north punched against the cliffs and it became clear that the Mykale was too large to get safely close to the rocks. Kontos, eager to.

A team of prestigious Greek scientists. Wright had come across Edmunds before. Judith Field and Edmunds had studied together at Cambridge University and one day she got a call from him. Edmunds asked her about the Antikythera mechanism, so she gave him Wright’s number. If he calls, you must tell him all you can,’ she told Wright. ‘He’s a serious astronomer, a professor! Make sure you give him a good answer.’ So when Edmunds called, Wright spoke to him at length, telling him all about the.

Equatorium (I) takes temporary position at Princeton (I) lectures on the mechanism (I) writes article on the mechanism (I) mercurial nature of (I) and scientometrics (I) investigates the Tower of the Winds in Athens (I) and the arms race (I) and potential of gamma rays (I) reconstructs the mechanism (I), (II) calendrical calculations (I) publishes Gears from the Greeks (I), (II), (III), (IV), (V), (VI), (VII) interest in computers (I) death of (I) Wright’s mistrust of work done by.

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