Middle school science adventures
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Getting the dirt on carbon
Poison Dart Frogs
Salamanders and Newts
Elephant Mimics
Life on the Down Low
Ant Invasions Change the Rules
Reading Body Language
Fish needs see-through head
The Snappy Lingo of Instant Messages
Chemistry and Materials
Sugary Survival Skill
Sweeeet! The Skinny on Sugar Substitutes
The newest superheavy in town
Play for Science
The Book of Life
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
Dinosaurs and Fossils
A Big, Weird Dino
Dino Babies
Dino Flesh from Fossil Bone
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Ice Age Melting and Rising Seas
Rodent Rubbish as an Ice-Age Thermometer
Petrified Lightning
Missing Tigers in India
A Newspaper's Hidden Cost
A Vulture's Hidden Enemy
Finding the Past
Ancient Art on the Rocks
Your inner Neandertal
Words of the Distant Past
Angler Fish
Megamouth Sharks
Food and Nutrition
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
How Super Are Superfruits?
Eat Out, Eat Smart
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Subject and Verb Agreement
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Exam Preparation
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Losing with Heads or Tails
Play for Science
Detecting True Art
Human Body
Speedy Gene Gives Runners a Boost
Spit Power
Taking the sting out of scorpion venom
Camel Spiders
Grizzly Bear
Doberman Pinschers
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
The Particle Zoo
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
One ring around them all
Assembling the Tree of Life
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Flower family knows its roots
Sea Turtles
Box Turtles
Space and Astronomy
An Earthlike Planet
A Planet's Slim-Fast Plan
Unveiling Titan
Technology and Engineering
Sugar Power for Cell Phones
Beyond Bar Codes
Riding Sunlight
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
What is a Preposition?
Robots on the Road, Again
Reach for the Sky
Robots on a Rocky Road
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
A Change in Climate
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Add your Article

Secrets of an Ancient Computer

Computers go back farther in history than you might imagine. A mysterious mechanism found in a 2,000-year-old Greek shipwreck may have been used to calculate the positions of planets, predict when eclipses were to occur, and do other astronomical chores. Known as the Antikythera (pronounced an-tee-KITH-air-uh) mechanism, the device is about the size of a shoebox. When it was found underwater about 100 years ago, the mechanism was in poor shape. Its metal pieces had congealed into one mass, then broken into pieces. People who studied what was left of the mechanism suspected that it had something to do with astronomy. To find out more, researchers recently used advanced imaging methods, including X-ray computer tomography, to look inside the metal fragments and to check for ancient writing on the device. "The computer tomography images of the mechanism have literally opened the device up to us to see how it worked," says John M. Steele, who studies ancient astronomy at the University of Durham in England. The researchers discovered that the mechanism had at least 30 bronze gears with as many as 225 teeth, likely all cut by hand. This fresh look provided clear evidence that the device could have been used to compute eclipses of the sun and moon. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into Earth's shadow, and a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. Scientists suspect that the mechanism was also able to show the motions of the planets. A user could pick a day in the future and, using some sort of crank, work out a planet's position on that date. The new images doubled the number of engravings that the scientists could read. These inscriptions revealed uses for the machine that were previously unknown. With the added information, the researchers came up with a new model for how the mechanism operated. The model takes into account 29 of the 30 known gears and adds five more that were probably there but never found. The new picture adds a previously undiscovered spiral dial to the back of the device near the bottom. A hand moving around the dial could have pointed to eclipses over a period of 18 years. All these findings show that the Antikythera mechanism was perhaps 1,000 years ahead of anything else discovered from its time period.E. Sohn

Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Secrets of an Ancient Computer

Designed and Powered by™