A 2000-year-old computer called the Antikythera Mechanism helped the ancient Greeks understand their universe
The world’s oldest known computer lay submerged for more than 2000 years off the treacherous coast of the Greek island of Antikythera. Beneath the weight of the water, the sand, and the wrecked ship that once carried it, the ancient astronomical computer’s bronze gears and mechanical parts slowly warped and rusted.
At the turn of the 20th century, a group of fishermen happened upon the wreck and its decaying treasures while diving after their dinners. One of the fishermen swam back to his crewmates clutching a bronze arm — the first find from the Antikythera wreckage to resurface.
Two years later, on today’s date in 1902, amidst the coins, sculptures, and pottery, a green-rusted lump of metal caught archaeologist Valerios Stais’ eye. It…