British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Lego Antikythera Mechanism

Synopsis
Video of a fully functioning replica (made from Lego) of the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient scientific instrument designed to calculate astronomical positions and lunar events with unprecedented accuracy. Estimated to have been built sometime between 150-100 BCE it is considered to be the oldest known complex scientific calculator. The machine is thought to have calculated the position of the moon and the sun (or other astronomical objects such as the planets) after the user has inputted the specific date using a hand operated crank. As the machine was created before the introduction of the Copernican system, it is based upon a geocentric model with the earth taking position at the centre of the universe (Ptolemaic system).

The machine was however lost to sea and it was not until 1901 that the device was recovered from the wreckage of a ship, just off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera (hence the name). A century later scientists were finally able to uncover its true function through the use of high-resolution x-ray tomography. The machine featured here is a fully functioning replica constructed in 2010 using Lego.
Language
English
Country
Greece
Year of release
2011
Year of production
2010
Notes
An article from The Guardian gives further information on the instrument and links to videos of scientists explaining how they went about examining the device see http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/punctuated-equilibrium/2010/dec/10/1
Subjects
Astronomy; Engineering
Keywords
astronomical observations; calculators; clocks; history of technology; scientific instruments

Online availability

URI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLPVCJjTNgk
Price
free
Delivery
Streamed

Credits

Director
John Pavlus
Contributor
Andrew Carol

Production Company

Name

Digital Science

Distributor

Name

YouTube

Web
http://www.youtube.com External site opens in new window

Record Stats

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