The Antikythera Mechanism, an astronomical computer probably crafted in Rhodes in the second century BCE, is regarded as being the first precision, gear driven calculator and the forerunner of modern computers. Found by sponge-divers as a corroded lump in a 2,100-year-old Roman-era shipwreck in the early 1900's, it is one of the most advanced examples of technology ever discovered from the ancient world. The level of genius revealed by this wondrous mechanism has fascinated and astounded historians for decades.
A historian of science and a staunch environmental advocate, Dr. Evaggelos Vallianatos returns to Claremont Speaks to relate how the mechanism was created, lost, found and then studied and investigated. From that foundation, he extrapolates the implications to what today's society could have been had the mechanism and the guiding philosophies and purposes that created it been allowed to flourish.
This interview provides a window into how the achievements and lessons of the past speak loudly as cautionary tales regarding the efforts and pursuits of technology today, and how crucial it is to continually measure the ongoing advancement by whether it is truly good for all of society, not simply to enrich corporate coffers.
Caution: listening to this episode may foster a deeper curiosity about the Antikythera Mechanism and how ancient Greek philosophy, if applied to today's technological advances, might very well help, instead of continue to damage, today's environment.
For more on the Antikythera Mechanism
Dr. Vallianatos' book, The Antikythera Mechanism: The Story Behind the Genius of the Greek Computer and its Demise
Available on Amazon
Dr. Vallianatos' presentation on YouTube:
To contact Dr. Vallianatos, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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