Where would you go to solve the mysteries of the universe? Well, one man went to his shed.
Michael Wright has been studying an ancient device called the ‘Antikythera Mechanism’ in his shed since 1974. This mechanism was found in a Roman shipwreck discovered in 1901 and has been puzzling experts ever since.
It has been linked to Corinth around 212 BCE about the same time as Archimedes’ school existed. Archimedes is famous for taking a bath and shouting ‘eureka’ at his discovery of the theory of displacement of water.
A complicated fragment of the mechanism contains intricate cogs and wheels displaying a craftsmanship beyond that thought possible for such an early time.
Mr Wright, a former science museum curator, has been able to make a replica of the ancient machine, thought to display the movement of heavenly bodies and predict eclipses.
However, an international team of historians has entered the arena and caused an upset that even the machine couldn’t predict. They claim that some of Mr Wright’s calculations are wrong and that they have new evidence which explains the machine’s workings more accurately. They have published their findings in ‘Nature’, a scientific journal, which they believe show the machine in a completely new light.
Meanwhile, Mr Wright feels that they have added nothing new.
What is beyond argument, is that the Antikythera Mechanism is a work of great skill. As ingenious as this device was for the time, however, it did not stop a distrust of astrology. Pliny writes in around 77-79 CE:
‘Astrologers have various arguments they use to escape responsibility for their predictions. For example, they claim that spirits do not obey, and cannot be seen by, people with freckles.’
Perhaps that explains Lindsay Lohan’s lack of foresight!