The study of ancient technology makes one reflect that perhaps the ancient civilisations were not so far away from us in mentality. They went often to the limits of their knowledge and techniques to produce art and science. Some of the most impressive artifacts that survived until today can be described as gadgets; only that they are 'eternal' making it through time. EternalGadgetry started as a passion around ancient technology and it evolved into a hobby, where more friendships were made, with people sharing similar interests and complementary skills. My first construction was a challenging 2000-year-old geared-device, the Antikythera Mechanism, followed by more clockwork mechanisms. In the process, we embarked into more educational, software and machinery adventures, where my friend Georg Brandl could imagine and bring life to new and otherwise 'impossible' projects in the digital realm.
I was absolutely astonished watching the BBC documentary “The 2000 year-old computer”. It exposes the spectator in the best possible way to the secrets of this mysterious device and how it actually works. Being a scientist myself, I continued reading papers about it, only to re-watch the documentary a few months later. This was enough to push the experimental side of me in a hobby project this time with a purpose, and personal challenge, to reconstruct the Antikythera Mechanism.
Being a father of two children, I am fascinated by the learning process and place a great deal of attention in their early education. It is believed that the actual Antikythera Mechanism was primarily used for educational purposes at the time. Further, I am always keen on free-diving as soon as I arrive in Greece for my holidays, no matter what the season is. As known, the Antikythera Mechanism was exposed to salt water for two millennia. This was then the perfect hobby for me, combining sea, Greece and ancient technology.
My aim was very simple in conception: a one-to-one scaled, exact replica of the Antikythera Mechanism, which precisely respects all absolute dimensions and known functions of the original and incorporates all the latest research. Needless to say, this entailed making all the calculations and design from scratch. Whilst staying true to the original design reflecting ancient wisdom and know-how, I further wanted the full beauty of the Antikythera mechanism to be directly visible by the spectator with the help of modern-life comfort. This is a great advantage for educational purposes. After all, it is all about an eternal gadget that we still admire as much as people must have done 2000 years ago. Whilst engaging in this demanding project, I used modern computers in order to minimize frictions of all components. This simulation process resulted in a real model with the drive input at the side, exactly as the original. Overall, only a handful of these reconstructions exist, with an even smaller fraction of those functioning with a side-input.
Markos Skoulatos was born in 1983 and grew up in Egio, Greece. From his childhood, he was attracted by experiments and geometry. He studied physics and did his PhD with a university scholarship during 2004-2007 in Liverpool, in solid-state physics. His particular field is quantum magnetism and novel magnetic phases.
In 2008-2011 he worked at the research center Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin and then at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland, with a Marie Curie scholarship (2012-2014). Since 2014 he works at the Technical University of Munich. He implements his ideas in large-scale facilities, with neutron beams and X-rays in France, Germany, Switzerland and USA. He publishes his work in international scientific journals and has given over 50 lectures and presentations on his research in magnetic materials in universities and conferences around the world (England, Greece, France, Switzerland, Sweden, USA, Japan, etc.).