Sunday, December 14, 2008

Antikythera Update (with video)

Archimedes and the 2000-year-old computer - tech - 12 December 2008 - New Scientist: "MARCELLUS and his men blockaded Syracuse, in Sicily, for two years. The Roman general expected to conquer the Greek city state easily, but the ingenious siege towers and catapults designed by Archimedes helped to keep his troops at bay.

Then, in 212 BC, the Syracusans neglected their defences during a festival to the goddess Artemis, and the Romans finally breached the city walls. Marcellus wanted Archimedes alive, but it wasn't to be. According to ancient historians, Archimedes was killed in the chaos; by one account a soldier ran him through with a sword as he was in the middle of a mathematical proof.

One of Archimedes's creations was saved, though. The general took back to Rome a mechanical bronze sphere that showed the motions of the sun, moon and planets as seen from Earth."

1 comment:

Karin M said...

I've seen the actual machine and it is so corroded that it is hard to make sense of it. Only a few gear teeth can be seen and most of the writing is indecipherable. All the parts are fused together in a green lumpy mass. X rays and dedication have accomplished an amazing feat of reconstruction.