The Mind-Blowing Secrets of the World’s Oldest Computer!
In 1901, archaeologists were more fascinated by a small object, about the size of a shoebox, discovered in an underwater shipwreck near the island of Antikythera, Greece, than by the coins, jewelry, and sculptures found at the same site. This corroded bronze artifact, dating back approximately 2,100 years, turned out to be an ancient Greek tool used for performing intricate mathematical calculations with remarkable precision. Using modern technology, scientists have gained valuable insights into this ancient device, known as the Antikythera Mechanism.
The Antikythera Mechanism consists of around 30 bronze gears, each with thousands of tiny interlocking teeth, which operate when a hand crank is turned. These gears, in turn, move other metal components representing celestial bodies like the sun and the moon. After a decade of efforts to decipher its purpose, researchers have determined that the Antikythera Mechanism served as a sophisticated star chart for predicting eclipses and as a calendar to track the start of the Olympic Games. This video illustrates how the device may have functioned.
Unlocking the Past
So, how did modern science unravel the secrets of the Antikythera Mechanism? X-ray scanning and advanced imaging technologies revealed the hidden details of the device, effectively providing a “how-to” manual that had been obscured by corrosion, buildup, and wear. When divers initially discovered the Antikythera Mechanism, they were unable to discern what lay beneath the hardened sediment and corroded gears, owing to the damage incurred during its 2,000-year submersion.
The Antikythera Mechanism, the world’s oldest known computer, holds significance for several reasons. Firstly, it underscores the remarkable scientific knowledge of the ancient Greeks and raises intriguing questions about the potential advancements they could have achieved had their civilization continued to flourish. Secondly, the mystery surrounding the device remains partially unsolved because no working models have survived to the present day, despite descriptions of it in ancient writings. This raises the puzzling question of why all functional Antikythera Mechanisms vanished from historical records.