Google Doodle celebrates 115th anniversary of the discovery of the Antikythera mechanism

The Google Doodle for today celebrates the 115th anniversary of the discovery of what is believed to be the oldest known mechanical computer. In 1900, in the sea bed near the Greek Island of Antikythera, sponge divers came across an ancient Roman shipwreck. Glassware, jars, pottery and bronze artefacts were preserved in the remains of the ancient ship. The Antikythera mechanism was discovered two years later, and even after decades of research, scientists continue to unlock its secrets.


Researchers believe that the mechanism may be made in 150 BC, and yet advanced scans of the innards showed intricate gears similar to those used in clocks as recently as the 18th century. The ancient analogue computer had a number of apps. It could predict the movements of the celestial bodies. There was both a solar and a zodiacal calendar. Inscriptions indicate that it could be used to keep track of the olympic games. It could predict solar and lunar eclipses. Considering that it was on a ship, researchers believe that it could be used for mapping and navigation purposes as well. That is a lot of heavy lifting for a two thousand year old device.

There are 82 cataloged fragments of the Antikythera Mechanism. The National Archaeological Museum in Athens has on display the largest of the fragments, for those who want to take a look for themselves, at this ancient mystery that continues to baffle scientists. The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project is an ongoing effort by researchers and technology companies, to use the latest technologies to unlock the secrets of the mechanism. The reach of the Google is in Europe, the Americas, Australia and India.

Published Date: May 17, 2017 08:57 am | Updated Date: May 17, 2017 08:57 am