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From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Terracotta Army, ancient artifacts have long fascinated the modern world. However, the importance of some discoveries is not always immediately understood. This was the case in 1901 when sponge divers retrieved a lump of corroded bronze from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea near the Greek island of Antikythera. Little did the divers know they had found the oldest known analog computer in the world, an astonishing device that once simulated the motions of the stars and planets as they were understood by ancient Greek astronomers. Its remains now consist of 82 fragments, many of them containing gears and plates engraved with Greek words, that scientists and scholars have pieced back together through painstaking inspection and deduction, aided by radiographic tools and surface imaging. More than a century after its discovery, many of the secrets locked in this mysterious device can now be revealed. In addition to chronicling the unlikely discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism, author Alexander Jones takes readers through a discussion of how the device worked, how and for what purpose it was created, and why it was on a ship that wrecked off the Greek coast around 60 BC. What the Mechanism has uncovered about Greco-Roman astronomy and scientific technology, and their place in Greek society, is truly amazing. The mechanical know-how that it embodied was more advanced than anything the Greeks were previously thought capable of, but the most recent research has revealed that its displays were designed so that an educated layman could understand the behavior of astronomical phenomena, and how intertwined they were with one's natural and social environment. It was at once a masterpiece of machinery as well as one of the first portable teaching devices. Written by a world-renowned expert on the Mechanism, A Portable Cosmos will fascinate all readers interested in ancient history, archaeology, and the history of science.
In this extensive sequel to Science Education in the Early Roman Empire, Dr. Richard Carrier explores the social history of scientists in the Roman era. Was science in decline or experiencing a revival under the Romans? What was an ancient scientist thought to be and do? Who were they, and who funded their research? And how did pagans differ from their Christian peers in their views toward science and scientists? Some have claimed Christianity valued them more than their pagan forebears. In fact the reverse is the case. And this difference in values had a catastrophic effect on the future of humanity. The Romans may have been just a century or two away from experiencing a scientific revolution. But once in power, Christianity kept that progress on hold for a thousand years—while forgetting most of what the pagans had achieved and discovered, from an empirical anatomy, physiology, and brain science to an experimental physics of water, gravity, and air. Thoroughly referenced and painstakingly researched, this volume is a must for anyone who wants to learn how far we once got, and why we took so long to get to where we are today.
"A brilliant, up-to-date account of all of ancient Greek history (the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods), suitable for history buffs and university students, enlivened by a strong thesis about the disunity of the Greeks, their underlying cultural unity, and their eventual political unification"--
This volume in the highly respected Cambridge History of Science series is devoted to the history of science, medicine and mathematics of the Old World in antiquity. Organized by topic and culture, its essays by distinguished scholars offer the most comprehensive and up-to-date history of ancient science currently available. Together, they reveal the diversity of goals, contexts, and accomplishments in the study of nature in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and India. Intended to provide a balanced and inclusive treatment of the ancient world, contributors consider scientific, medical and mathematical learning in the cultures associated with the ancient world.

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