A new look at the Antikythera Mechanism.

Amabile A.
  Giovedì 15/09   09:00 - 13:00   Aula C - Maria Gaetana Agnesi   VII - Didattica e storia della fisica   Presentazione
In this talk I'll sketch the outlines of an alternative historical framework for the interpretation of the Antikythera Mechanism (AM). My aim is to twofold: 1) to reassess the role of construction of spheres in the development, reception, and transmission of Greek mathematical astronomy. 2) To reconstruct the astronomical theory embedded in the AM, following the constraints imposed by the specific purposes of sphairopoiia and by the methods of Hellenistic mathematics, as exemplified by the extant works of Euclid, Archimedes, and Apollonius. My conjecture is that the AM embedded a dynamical and relational theory of astronomical motions, with the Sun-Earth system working as a reference-motion for all the others. My general claim is that sphairopoiia shaped as much as geometry the theoretical structure of Greek mathematical astronomy, the ground on which the edifice of classical mechanics was built. In a wider philosophical perspective, a thorough study of sphairopoiia will provide key insights into the nature of Greek astronomy, with far-reaching consequences for the long-term history of western science.