A Brief History Of Clocks: Fro


The clock is one of the most influential discoveries in the history of western science. The division of time into regular, predictable units is fundamental to the operation of society. Even in ancient times, humanity recognized the necessity of an orderly system of chronology. Hesiod, writing in the 8th century BC., used celestial bodies to indicate agricultural cycles: "When the Pleiads, Atlas' daughters, start to rise begin your harvest; plough when they go down" ( Hesiod 71). Later Greek scientists, such as Archimedes, developed complicated models of the heavens-celestial spheres-that illustrated the "wandering" of the sun, the moon, and the planets against the fixed position of the ...

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Although Ptolemy was familiar with both the anaphoric clock and the astrolabe, I believe that the development of the anaphoric clock preceded the development of the astrolabe.
The earliest example, in western culture, of a celestial sphere is attributed to the presocratic philosopher Thales. Unfortunately, little is known about Thales' sphere beyond Cicero's description in the De re publica:
For Gallus told us that the other kind of celestial globe, which was solid and contained no hollow space, was a very early invention, the first one of that kind having been constructed by Thales of Mileus, and later marked by Eudoxus with the constellations and stars which are fixed in the sky. (Price 56)
This description is helpful for understanding the basic form of Thales' sphere, and for pinpointing its creation at a specific point in time. However, it is clearly a simplification of events that occurred several hundred years before Cicero's lifetime. Why would Thales' create a ...

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mean period of Jupiter can be represented by a gear ratio of 12 to 1, and Mars can be represented by a gear ratio of 2.5 to 1.

An interesting problem arises when one attempts to mechanically represent the synodic month. A gear ratio of 235 to 19 is required for an accurate representation. However, this is impossible to achieve directly, presenting a serious challenge to Archimedes and other Greek scientists. Prof. Price claims that two different gear arrangements can be used to create this ratio. First, one may simply use a more intricate combination of gears, as Archimedes did in his mechanical sphere. The second solution is one of the greatest innovations in Greek engineering; the ...

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Added: 8/2/2008 07:12:27 PM
Category: World History
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