Stunning Antikythera video

29. July 2009 08:42
Still from Mogi Vicentini's animation of the Antikythera mechanism (

Thanks to all those who came along to my talk at the Royal Institution last night, it was great to see such a big turnout. As part of the presentation I was lucky enough to be able to show a gorgeous video of the Antikythera mechanism's workings, which judging from the spontaneous applause it received was a highlight for much of the audience. This animation has just been completed by Mogi Vicentini, an Italian astronomer and computer scientist who specialises in making both physical and virtual models of astronomy instruments. Lots of people came up to me afterwards to ask for more information, so here's a link to Mogi's website, with this page dedicated to the Antikythera mechanism. You can download the animation itself from here, this is the recommended hi res version, but if you have trouble running it you could try a lower res version, here.

However much you already know about this 2000-year-old machine, the video really is breathtaking. Based on the physical reconstruction made by curator Michael Wright, it builds up the gear wheels one by one before adding the front and back dials and finally the wooden case, and it gets across the sheer sophistication of the gearing in a way that I have never seen before. So thank you to Mogi!

UPDATE 6 August 2009:

By the way, a few people have said they're having trouble getting the file on Mogi's site to run - I got it to work by downloading a free VLC media player, or you can look at the version hosted by the Guardian in their blog post on my talk - lower res but still beautiful. 


Comments (2) -

7/30/2009 1:57:00 PM #

Thank you very much for your appreciation... I'd like to add that I consider a privilege to have learned from mr. Wright about his theoretical model, and to have examined in detail his amazing replica of the machine. I hope my video will be available shortly from his website as well.

Mogi Vicentini Italy

8/1/2009 1:07:00 AM #

I hope you come to Chicago and give this talk sometime. The Museum of Science and Industry would be a perfect venue.

Win Schaeffer United States