Rebuilding the Antikythera Mechanism


The Antikythera was an early analog computer

The Antikythera Mechanism is older than Charles Babbage’s computation machine by an order of magnitude. It is the oldest known calculator. Some rather chewed-up looking pieces are on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. I wouldn’t expect otherwise, as the Antikythera was built in ancient Greece in about 100 BCE.

The Antikythera is an analog computer requiring a very comprehensive understanding of gear ratios and differentials. It was designed so well that it can accurately calculate solar eclipses and other celestial events. It’s true purpose was not understood until recently, according to the description by MacMillan Publishing.

Fully functional Antikythera replica using Lego

MacMillan posted a video on YouTube yesterday, as part of their roll-out. Andrew Carol is the person shown in the video. He is the “master Lego craftsman” and a software engineer with Apple Computers.

Watch an amazing 3-minute video that quickly shows how the all-Lego Antikythera calculator was constructed.

The full story behind all this is here… Read More

via Casting Out Nines.

Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Science Trading Card

Science Trading Card via Flickr

I was inspired by the story of this year’s Nobel Laureate in Physics, Professor A. Geim. He was an Ig-Noble prize winner a scant ten years ago, for the distinction of levitating live frogs with magnets. Now he and his University of Manchester colleague have won the Nobel Prize for extraction of graphene, a carbon-based material with amazing properties, including exceptional conductivity, transparency and strength.

Put aside the subject of this image, cigarettes. Note the style, humor and backdrop. It is delightfully whimsical, much in the spirit I attribute to Professor Geim as he levitated his frogs.
Image: Churchman’s Cigarettes, Early 20th Century originally uploaded by the Chemical Heritage Foundation

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,