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Unless you are a technologically handicapped person, you must have noticed today's Google Doodle. And, you might as well as have clicked on it see what is it about. To save you the pain and time, we have described pretty much everything you should know about the Antikythera Mechanism, which is being celebrated by Google today.
So on 17th May 1902, a Greek archaeologist named Valerios Stais found a chunk of metal out of a Roman shipwreck. Little did he know that it would turn out be a part of the world's first computer and would fascinate scientists for years to come. Well, the discovery story itself sounds quite intriguing, doesn't it? Anyway, it is time to go into the details now.
What exactly is Antikythera Mechanism?
Simply, the Antikythera mechanism is world's first analogical computer, with its origin going as back as 2000 years old. Almost unbelievable, it is older than the Christian religion.
The device comprises of more than 30 bronze gears housed in a wooden and bronze case built around the end of the 2nd Century BC.
As shown by evidence, ancient Greeks used to track the movement of the Sun, Moon and other planets with the help of this device. It was also used for predicting Solar and Lunar eclipses.
What's more, this astronomical calculator could even add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers. We think now you know, why it is considered the oldest computer in existence.
Of course, this system hardly has any similarity with the hardware of modern-age digital computers. Still, its mechanical design was able to able to perform some cool stuff.
A little more about it
According to researchers, the device was built on the island of Rhodes around 85 BC to 150 BC Additionally, it is believed that there were more than one of these devices. Maybe, the researchers just haven't found them yet.
While it is not quite clear, there were possibly two main people who made it, as suggested by the minute inscriptions on the remaining fragments of the device's outer surfaces. However, we can't deny the possibility of more people being involved in making the gears.
Notably, you can find references to devices like this in many literature pieces that was written between 300BC to 500AD.
Is the device as great as it sounds?
Firstly, the device was very advanced considering the timeline. Its components are quite complicated. Unfortunately, we don't know why that technology vanished suddenly.
As its mechanical complexity found its way again in some 18th-century clocks, which means 1000 years later. This is pretty fishy, don't you think?
In any case, if you are interested to see the Antikythera mechanism with your own eyes, you can visit the National Archaeological Museum in Athens in Greece.
It has replicas of the ancient computer on display.
Some bizarre theories
Yes, the Antikythera mechanism was much ahead of its time. Provided this, many have come up with bizarre theories about this instrument. We are mentioning one here.
According to a site called The Ancient Aliens, "Beings with advanced knowledge of astronomical bodies, mathematics and precision engineering tools created the device or gave the knowledge for its creation to someone during the first century BC. But the knowledge was not recorded or wasn't passed down to anyone else."
Basically, they are claiming that not humans, but aliens were the ones responsible for building this mysterious device. Now, it is up to you what do you want to believe.