Antikythera Mechanism...

I only discovered this yesterday. BBC Four has shown a film on the Antikythera mechanism. It can be found here I haven’t had a chance to view the programme yet so I don’t know whether it is any good. Note that even if you are in a region where you can view iPlayer programmes it is only available for one more day (unless you download to the iPlayer desktop). UPDATE: 22/5/12. I managed to watch the programme last night. It was quite good despite an early lapse in voiceover grammar and some dodgy computer effects (most were ok – just some were dodgy). And who was the mystery woman who walked around the Greek games stadium with the academic who was explaining it to us? Anyhow, leaving aside the minor problems that beset all TV productions the programme did cover the recent revelations of the mechanism by the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project but did not ignore the contribution of Michael Wright of the British Museum. I do have to argue with the speculation that Archimedes had been in some way involved. There is no evidence that his knowledge was used to construct the mechanism. (The programme also repeated the myth that Archimedes had been killed whilst drawing in the sand. Some of Plutarch’s stories say he was working on a problem but none say it was in the sand.) The bit about the front of the device representing the planets also seemed a bit...

Jo Marchant: Decoding the Heavens video...

Haven’t had much time to compose a blog entry as I’ve been trying to organize the final bits of advertising and uploading for the DVD. I’m hoping I will have a boxful of copies by the end of the week ready for the launch at the CETL-MSOR Conference at the start of September – I’m giving my talk on the 6th. Also, I’ve been trying to get some research done which at the moment involves finishing two papers and trying to understand a whole new area of mathematics (more on that some other time). Furthermore, I’ve got two PhD students who will be submitting their theses this coming year so I have to read some drafts to make sure they have results worthy of publication. Hence if you think academics are not busy during university holidays then think again. Anyhow, I seem to have written more than I expected. All I wanted to show you was a video: The Antikythera Mechanism is fascinating example of the sophistication of ancient Greek/Roman mathematics and engineering. A geared “clockwork” mechanism from around the first century BC is almost too impossible to believe. Here’s a video about it: Decoding the Heavens: Solving the Mystery of the World’s First Computer – Jo Marchant from Gresham College on...