The ancient celestial calculator – Wilmington News Journal

Celestial navigation, also known as astronavigation, “is the ancient and modern practice of determining position using stars and other celestial bodies that allows a navigator to accurately determine his physical position. actual current in space (or on the surface of the earth). ”

A discovery in 1900 by sponge divers in the Mediterranean off the island of Antikythera resulted in the discovery of a 2,000 year old Greek wreck containing this “mechanism”.

“The ship probably sank between 70 BC and 60 BC while traveling from Asia Minor to Rome. Sponge divers recovered three flat pieces of corroded bronze from the ship which later became known to be the Antikythera Mechanism. This discovery led to the creation of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, “an international collaboration of academic researchers supported by some of the world’s best high-tech companies, which aims to completely reassess the function and importance of the mechanism. of Antikythera ”.

“The Antikythera Mechanism has been called the ‘old calculator’, but it is much more complex than it appears. The shoebox-sized device features an intricate cogwheel system of 30 intricate bronze cogwheels used to operate a system that displays the date, sun and moon positions, moon phases, a 19-year calendar and a 223-month eclipse prediction dial. This makes it an analog computer of great complexity. No other known machine shows a similarity in advanced engineering for at least 1,000 years.

I can in no way claim to have a significant knowledge of the physical sciences; I received training as a sociologist! Why then am I presenting material that I have no experience with?

For me the answer is simple – because science and learning in general is under attack and there is a strong tendency to attribute ancient knowledge and wisdom to aliens or some form of religious belief or revelation – and no to our brilliant precursors – in this case Archimedes, the brilliant Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer and inventor of the 3rd century BC.

Why would anyone want to deny the ancient scientists their rightful place in our slow progression towards modern science?

This mechanism is just one example of the many brilliant inventions brought by our forerunners to the world that we enjoy. Then there are those contemporaries (not scholars) who make a living by undermining and destroying our world through lies and pseudoscience.

As I wrote before, Erich von Daniken is perhaps the most successful of these scammers – a simple con artist!

Many scholars who respond to the thoughtless and baseless writings of this charlatan see his greatest abuse (and those with similar ideas) as they “ignore the real achievements of our ancestors and … demean the abilities and ingenuity of the species. human as a whole ”.

Daniken has reportedly sold over 63 million copies of his books and they have been translated into 28 languages.

The fantasy more in demand than knowledge, quite a commentary on the world in which we live!

Neil Snarr is Professor Emeritus at Wilmington College.

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