'Antikythera Mechanism' --first computer?--Provides More Questions Than Answers





The device is so famous that an international conference organized in Athens a couple of weeks ago had only one subject: the Antikythera Mechanism.

Every discovery about the device has raised new questions. Who built the device, and for what purpose? Why did the technology behind it disappear for the next thousand years? What does the device tell us about ancient Greek culture? And does the marvelous construction, and the precise knowledge of the movement of the sun and moon and Earth that it implies, tell us how the ancients grappled with ideas about determinism and human destiny?

"We have gear trains from the 9th century in Baghdad used for simpler displays of the solar and lunar motions relative to one another -- they use eight gears," said Fran?ois Charette, a historian of science in Germany who wrote an editorial accompanying a new study of the mechanism two weeks ago in the journal Nature. "In this case, we have more than 30 gears. To see it on a computer animation makes it mind-boggling. There is no doubt it was a technological masterpiece."


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