SEPTEMBER SCIENCE LECTURE: The Antikythera MechanismThursday, September 17, 2015
Presenter: Dr. Jerry LaSala
Chair, USM Physics Department
Director, Southworth Planetarium
It has been called the masterwork of ancient analog computers. Dating from around the second century BCE, the Antikythera Mechanism was a highly complex astronomical clock consisting of more than 30 bronze gears. Recovered in 1901 from a Greek shipwreck off the island of Antikythera -hence the name- this device was capable of tracking solar, lunar and perhaps even planetary* motions.
Antikythera Mechanism artifact
This remarkable machine was encircled by the zodiacal constellations and the Egyptian monthly calendar. It is comparable in scope to the 14th century astronomical clocks which the mechanism pre-dates by at least 1500 years.
Dr. Jerry LaSala presents a lecture about the Antikythera Mechanism. We learn its philosophy of motion, the basic design of its component parts, its varied astronomical applications, and the means by which modern day scientists managed to demystify a mechanism that was lost to history for more than a thousand years.
Admission by donation.
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*As no gears for planetary motion were recovered, the issue pertaining to his planetary tracking capabilities remains unresolved.