The world’s first known scientific instrument plotted the positions of celestial bodies nineteen years into the future — and as an added bonus, it kept track of upcoming Olympics.
"The maker took information about astronomical theories, and made a machine that could predict the future," said Tony Freeth, co-author of a study to be published in Nature this week. "And it would tell you, as a bit of an add-on, what Olympic games would be in progress at the time."
A dictionary-size assemblage of 37 interlocking dials crafted with the precision and complexity of a 19th century Swiss clock, the machine was recovered in 1900 from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera. Scientists dated it to 150 BC. (wired)