As a fan of Lego, with a keen interest in science, this recent creation from designer Andrew Carol is simply stunning.
In case you don’t recognise it, it is a rebuild of what is claimed to be the world’s oldest known computer. The mechanism is known as the Antikythera Mechanism, part of an astronomical computer built in 150BC to calculate the movements of celestial bodies. Using complex (even by the standards of today) algorithms of bronze gears and wheels it was incredibly accurate, and when the artefact was rediscovered on a shipwreck near the island of Antikythera in 1901 it gave modern day scientists the opportunity to x-ray and CAT scan the device to recreate the astounding calculations.
Seemingly unsatisfied with their approach, self-confessed “professional geek” Adam Rutherford got to thinking. Inspired by a model of a Babbage Difference Engine, also in Lego and also by Andrew Carol, he got in touch and a few extremely patient weeks later the result is this wondrous video.
Rutherford summerises “we recreated a 1st century BC computer out of the best toy humankind has ever invented”.
Fantastic, couldn’t agree more. So, get 8 April 2024 in your diaries and your protective glasses at the ready.
Via New Scientist.