History

The World’s First Computer: The Antikythera Mechanism

Last week Drexel University sponsored an exhibition of a replica Antikythera Mechanism, a multimedia presentation and a special lecture by Dr. Xenophon Moussas, Professor in Space Physics and Director of Astrophysics Laboratory at Kapodistrian University of Athens-Greece. What is the Antikythera Mechanism? The Antikythera Mechanism is widely considered to be one of the most important archeological artifacts ever found. The mechanism is a geared device consisting of 30 gears in a highly complex arrangement. The mechanism is known to model astronomical phenomenon with remarkable detail.

In addition, it also stands witness to the extraordinary mathematical and engineering capabilities of the Ancient Greeks. The Mechanism is thought to date from between 150 and 100 BC and it precedes any other known clockwork mechanisms of similar complexity by more than a millennium. The level of engineering in the mechanism is astonishing by any standards.The exhibit in W. W. Hagerty Library will stay open to the public till May 18 and will be viewable during normal library hours (7:30am-2am Mon-Thurs, 7:30am-10pm Fri, 10am-10pm Sat, 10am-2am Sun).

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