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Book A Portable Cosmos: Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, Scientific Wonder of the Ancient World

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A Portable Cosmos: Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, Scientific Wonder of the Ancient World

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | A Portable Cosmos: Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, Scientific Wonder of the Ancient World.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Alexander Jones(Author)

    Book details


In 1901 divers salvaging antiquities from a Hellenistic shipwreck serendipitously recovered the shattered and corroded remains of an ancient Greek gear-driven device, now known as the Antikythera Mechanism. Since its discovery, scholars relying on direct inspection and on increasingly powerful radiographic tools and surface imaging have successfully reconstructed most of the functions and workings of the Mechanism. It was a machine simulating the cosmos as the Greeks understood it, with a half dozen dials displaying coordinated cycles of time and the movements of the Sun, Moon, and planets.

A Portable Cosmos presents the Antikythera Mechanism as a gateway to understanding Greek astronomy and scientific technology and their place in Greco-Roman society and thought. Although the Mechanism has long had the reputation of being an object we would not have expected the ancient world to have produced, the most recent researches have revealed that its displays were designed so that an educated layman would see how astronomical phenomena were intertwined with one's natural and social environment. It was at once a masterpiece of the genre of wonder-working devices that mimicked nature by means concealed from the viewer, and a mobile textbook of popular science.

Convincing. (Andrew Robinson, History Today)As riveting as any thriller or criminal investigation... Jones's text... is precise but calm, elegant and with a certain charm... We need more books like this. (Michael Bywater, Spectator)Jones takes the reader on a journey through the various years of research into the mechanism's background, as well as into the device itself, awarding a glimpse beneath the corroded surface and into the interior gears and cogs. (Jade Fell, Engineering and Technology)Jones' book is written in such a way that makes it profitable reading for a wide range of readers, from the specialists on the Mechanism to those who have never heard of it. (Efthymios Nicolaidis, Almagest)His virtue as an author is an exhaustive knowledge of his subject ... refreshingly candid (John J. Miller, Wall Street Journal Europe)A nimble, comprehensive survey of a wondrous machine (Barbara Kiser, Nature)A Portable Cosmos is set to become the definitive history of the Antikythera Mechanism, and will be of great value to specialists, as well as students and those interested in ancient Greco-Roman science and technology. (Liba Taub, University of Cambridge)Jones's text, too, is precise but calm, elegant and with a certain charm. His learning is broad: here's Ptolemy, here are gear ratios, here's Cicero and Galen, Babylonians, planets, lunar months, Glauco, epicyclics and the 'Spindle of Necessity'. And it is not just the cosmos that is demonstrated, but the vast difference, and astonishing similarity, between us and our ancestors. So out of the history of science comes a sense of our humanity and the ancient desire to comprehend. God knows, it's timely, in the shrivelled cosmos we are building. We need more books like this. And probably more sponge-divers, too. (Michael Bywater, The Spectator)

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Book details

  • PDF | 312 pages
  • Alexander Jones(Author)
  • OUP USA (23 Mar. 2017)
  • English
  • 4
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy

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Review Text

  • By justin o warwick on 13 September 2017

    An excellent book. Only missing was mention of the experimental Science Museum Perspex models

  • By Oldsirhippy on 16 May 2017

    A historical perspective on the Antikythera mechanism.Professor Jones knows his subject well and brings in a great deal of relevant history from the era of the mechanism. The mechanism is a truly remarkable device, way beyond the understanding of most people of that time and even today the technics used to model the sun and the moon is very advanced. Had this device not been discovered in the early 1900's we would still be unaware that the Greeks produced very advanced geared mechanisms over 2000 years ago.

  • By Imhotep on 30 April 2017

    Gives a wonderfully thorough, comprehensive background to the history of the Mechanism, the cultural and historical context within which it was built and the many mysteries which still surround it. Alex Jones brings a deep knowledge of ancient astronomy, mathematics and the Hellenistic era to this fascinating subject. Entertaining and easy to read - highly recommended.

  • By Guest on 11 May 2017

    Very interesting book. Delivered promptly.

  • By Cambria on 29 April 2017

    Very comprehensive and up to date analysis.


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