Friday, 10 December 2010

The Antikythera Mechanism - in Lego

Long-time readers may remember the Antikythera Mechanism; an astronomical instrument made in about 100BC, lost at sea, and recovered some 2,000 years later. It includes among other things a phase-of-the-moon device and dials predicting eclipses of the sun. Instructions for use were inscribed inside the case, and they're still working on [try this if that's down] deciphering and translating them. It's very beautiful. Quite a lot more seems to have been learnt about it. For example, it seems to implement a partly or mainly Babylonian model of the universe, and it specifies the date of an obscure athletic event that was only really interesting if you lived near Dodona in Western Greece.

A new article is freely downloadable from Nature, and written for the layman with some very nice illustrations.

Now Andrew Carol, a software engineer at Apple, has replicated the mechanism in Lego. It'll please the mathematicians among you:

And here's the first-pass replica, again, because it's so pretty:

Hat tip The Register


OwenMc said...

As Mr Spock would say, 'Fascinating'...

I thought this looked to be right up El Reg's street - thanks for the pointer.

Andreas said...

Makes me kinda proud of my species. Totally wonderful, the original as well as the bonkers Lego thing.

msHedgehog said...

I know, isn't it brilliant?