Does Antikythera mean anything to you? Maybe not, but this system, which was discovered in the sea floor in 1901, is considered to be the “first computer”! It would be 2000 years old and therefore the ancestor of our computers! Today scientists at London’s Global University believe they have finally discovered some of the secrets behind it.
A century in which researchers wonder about Antikythera! A century in which they wonder how the first analog computer worked. By creating a replica of the device using modern technologies, you would have solved one of the device’s puzzles! Presentation…
Antikythera would, in fact, be an astronomical calculator capable of displaying the movements of the universe. But also to predict the motion of the five planets that scientists knew to explain the study published on the nature.com website. This calculator would also make it possible to know the lunar and solar eclipses as well as the different phases of the moon.
What is Antikythera?
This device takes its name from the place of its discovery: the island of Antikythera in Greece. It is indeed a supercomputer made of brass, bronze gears (30) connected to dials and hands. The remains of the found computer make up only a third of the total structure. Hence the difficulty in understanding how it works.
Secondary fragment of the Antikythera. Photo credit: Marsyas / Wikipedia CC BY 2.5,
“Although the metal is precious and therefore would have been recycled, it is strange that nothing similar has been found or excavated remotely (…) if they had the technology to make the Antikythera Mechanism, why didn’t they expand that technology? the design of other machines like clocks? “Explains UCL instructor Adam Wojcik on the Guardian website.
The secrets of Antikythera!
Michael Wright, former curator at the Science Museum in London, was the first to reconstruct much of the mechanism. The new team therefore combined Wright’s work with the inscriptions discovered on the computer. It would therefore be able to display the movements of the planets known at the time: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, as well as those of the sun and moon.
At the time, scientists thought that all of these stars revolved around the earth. Another important step for scientists is knowing what materials they made Antikythera from! But also knowing if it was more of a scientific, educational tool or simple entertainment! So they still cut out their work so they knew what exactly Antikythera was for!