In her book Decoding the Heavens, Jo Marchant tells the story of an ancient Greek artefact called the Antikythera mechanism. It was discovered. Roman Aqueducts and Water Supply by A. Trevor Hodge The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox Decoding the Heavens by Jo Marchant A LM IA Ceramic. We all know about the ancient Greeks’ abilities in art and philosophy, but, as this enlightening book tells us, they also made the world’s first.

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A Roman shipmaster inadvertently did something just like it 2, years ago off southern Greece, experts said late Thursday. There are only a few pages left for the poor Antikythera which this book was meant to popularise.

Lists with This Book. It completely upends centuries of research that has assumed that the Greeks, apart from a handful of scholars such as Euclid, Archimedes and Aristarchus, were relatively backward scientifically. Speaking of which, it wasn’t until that the Catholic Church even admitted Galileo was right. The author acknowledges p. To ask other readers questions about Decoding the Heavensplease sign up. The story involves complicated descriptions of astronomical theory.

The book describes how the work of several very dedicated reasearchers worked for years to find out what the marvhant was meant ,archant do.

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Marchant is a science writer. After more than a century of on-again, off-again study, scholars finally in concluded that it is an extremely sophisticated astronomical comp This is a combination Roman-era history work, archaeological study, mathematical analysis, and detective novel, all rolled into one — but written more engagingly than any book of history, archaeology, math or forensic analysis. Everything in moderation and such. After reading Jo Marchant’s marvelous first book, “Decoding the Heavens,” I may find myself arguing that our greatest legacy of the past might actually be — instead of yet another shrine to hubris — a toaster-size technological memento of just how intelligent some ancient thinkers could be.


Both points deserve emphasis. She takes history, science and math and weaves a tale that is both entertaining and educational. Top notch book that chronicles the discovery and decipherment of a device that proves to the modern world that assumptions about the low level of technical achievement in the ancient world are very wrong.

My review makes the book sound philosophical, and it is at times, but it is also quite marchantt and a th of fun. The book reads more like a blog post than a scientific paper: Her book is not some fictional archeological novel written in some protected writer’s den – but “Decoding the Heavens” is the real deal.

The story is absolutely amazing, as told by a talented and gifted writer. Jul 14, Mary rated it liked it Shelves: They expanded on the complexity again, indicating that the zodiac, sun, moon and even eclipses could be predicted using the Antikythera mechanism.

‘Decoding the Heavens’ by Jo Marchant – LA Times

Who designed it and more importantly how – become the quest for the author, as she explored the roots and origins and mysteries of this 2, year old Antikythera mechanism. And digressions on analytical instruments. Cousteau’s team, diving the wreck indid not have the equipment to examine the crevasse. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

We can appreciate how it took an array of persistent scientists, mechanical tinkerers, and historians, paired with advances in diving and computer technology A slow reveal spanning more than a century and a fascinating “cast” of obsessed characters propel this engrossing nonfiction historical mystery.

The book follows the story of the discovery of an ancient Greek mechanical device, named the Antikythera device. Arounda major find is found near Antikythera during a sponge search; for a long time, it is being searched by Greeks who are recently, and not completely, independent and proud about it. The book details more than years of effort to unravel the mysteries surrounding an old Decosing device. The mechanism will be studied, argued about, and hopefully one day there will be the technology and the money to examine the shipwreck for other pieces that can reveal more puzzle answers.


AroundGreek sponge divers found a system of gears, very intricate and ancient. The book also gives us a little pause to remember that you can go quite far with technology, and still fall so far back that it takes 2 millenia to catch up.

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I could easily see myself returning to it in half a year, to relive the tension and discovery, as well as to study a very competent exposition and storytelling method. This page was last edited on 2 Aprilat Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.

I first read about the Antikythera mechanism in an article written by Tony Freeth who is profiled in the book. They recover ancient bronzes and artifacts from this period. The Moon in a Box. Dwelling on irrelevant minutiae, personal stories and general incompetence of the Greek government who’d have thunk it. We may wonder why, for example, the islanders of Rapa Nui sculpted giant heads out of volcanic tuff, but the concept itself doesn’t baffle us. A paper published last week on the physics preprint server suggests that the mysterious object in this picture, found in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian architect, could have been used as one.

But overall a very intriguing book that makes me wonder yet again what else there is yet to be discovered, if ever discovered the saddest possibility. No trivia or quizzes yet. It wasn’t horrible, not by any means, but it wasn’t the most fun part of the book. She was assigned the story by Nature magazine inand the mechanism clearly fascinated her.

Written with the flare of a detective story and the credibility of a science writer, Marchant’s book is a fantastic introduction to a machine that has to be read about to be believed. The Antikythera mechanism was a box of machinery discovered in a shipwreck near Greece. Learn more about Amazon Prime.