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The Antikythera Mechanism

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19:30 – 19:30 12 Jan 2010
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Room TC014
Elwes Building
University of Gloucestershire
Park Campus
Cheltenham GL50 2RH

PLEASE NOTE: This event is going ahead but paths at the University of Gloucestershire may be icy so please exercise caution
We hope to offer refreshments as usual however the University is running a limited service due to the weather and refreshments may not be available.
This talk will describe an extraordinary ancient Greek mechanism with over thirty gear wheels found off the island of Antikythera. The device had an astronomical purpose and is an order of magnitude more complicated that any surviving from the following millenium. "
Abstract
What may well be the most extraordinary surviving artefact from the ancient Greek world was discovered just over a century ago. In 1900 sponge divers off the coast of the Mediterranean island of Antikythera found a wreck which was to yield a device containing over thirty gear wheels dating from the 1st century B.C., and now known as the Antikythera Mechanism. This device is an order of magnitude more complicated than any surviving mechanism from the following millennium, and there is no surviving precursor. It is clear from its structure and inscriptions that its purpose was astronomical, including eclipse prediction. In this illustrated talk, I will outline the results from our international research team, which has been using the most modern imaging methods to probe the device and its inscriptions. The extraordinary sophistication of the Mechanism.s design has fundamental implications for the development of Greek astronomy and technology. The latest results may suggest a link back to Archimedes, and show that the Mechanism even had a dial to indicate when the Olympic Games should take place!"
The talk will be given by Dr Mike Edmunds, Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics at Cardiff University. His biography is as follows: "Mike Edmunds is Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics at Cardiff University and former Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy. He is a member of the Science and Technology Research Council, and Chair of their Science in Society Advisory Panel. He was educated at Cambridge, but has lived and worked in Wales for nearly 35 years. His main research career involved the determination and interpretation of the abundances of the chemical elements in the Universe, and investigation of the origin of interstellar dust. Later work has partly focused on the history of astronomy, and on Science in Society activity. Mike is a Council Member of the Royal Astronomical Society and Chair of their Astronomical Heritage Committee, a consultant for the Higher Education Academy, and can occasionally be seen in his one-man play about Newton "Sir Isaac Remembers...".

Event type: Lecture/Talk
Organised by: South West Branch
Contact details: Ed RatzerRatzer
secretary-sw@physics.org

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Location icon
Room TC014
Elwes Building
University of Gloucestershire
Park Campus
Cheltenham GL50 2RH
Clock icon
19:30 – 19:30 12 Jan 2010
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