Antikythera, the Green Island of Science

You’ve probably all heard of the Antikythera Mechanism, a sophisticated device that was used about 2000 years ago by the Greeks to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes and found in 1902 at the site of a shipwreck near the island of Antikythera. You may not know that there is a strong connection between the study of this amazing piece of machinery and my current employer, Cardiff University, especially through our own Emeritus Professor Mike Edmunds.

Well, it seems that another episode in the story of Antikythera is about to open up as a result of a new initiative of the National Observatory of Athens, in collaboration with the Prefecture of Attica and the Municipality of the island of Kythira. This will lead to the creation of an Observatory of Climate Change and Centre of Geosciences at the island of AntiKythera, where the famous ancient mechanism was found and which is currently almost deserted.

Here is a little video about this project. The dialogue is in Greek, but with subtitles. I should also point out that the first person you see and hear is Manolis Plionis, who is Director of the National Observatory of Athens, a very old friend of mine who I first met at Sussex when I started my graduate studies in the Astronomy Centre there in 1985.

2 Responses to “Antikythera, the Green Island of Science”

  1. Antarikhya in Sanskrit means Universe/Cosmos. May be just a aoincidence

  2. I wish them luck. But I worry about the problems of setting up a major scientific institute on an island with a population in the tens, no airport, a port which seems to have only occasional visits from a ferry. Would people go there? Could you get equipment in and out? I know its not like a telescope, but there is probably major computer equipment required, and I remember what getting stuff into La Palma was like (and that had a population of 80,000 and flights several times per day).

    Anyway, as I say I wish them well. I worry about recruiting staff there, but if I was 20 years younger, qualified in a slightly different field, and with a proper EU nationality, I would go.

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