Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011 - (Page 16)

The Greek writer Herodotus is widely considered the father of history because he was the first person to systematically construct accounts of significant events and the lives of important figures. But some also call him “the father of lies” because not all of his stories turn out to match the facts we have come to know about the classical world. Reconstructing the past can be tricky business. Here are some accounts of the origins of practices and technology that have been claimed to have been founded in Greece. Their truth is a matter of historical controversy. Which ones do you believe? Made in Greece The Marathon The Greeks lived in fear of the Persians whose great army was conquering the region. When Persian warships landed at the city of Marathon, the Athenians sent their messenger Pheidippides to Sparta to request their help in resisting the invaders. Pheidippides ran 150 miles over rocky mountains in two days, his speedy trek allowing the Spartans to join the fight in time to save Greece from being overrun. In his honor, we still run long-distance races called marathons. by Steven Gimbel, PhD, and Brett Rogers, PhD Computers It is hard to think of a computer before electricity, but the point of a computer is to take input and transform the data into output that the user finds useful. While exploring a shipwreck in the 20th century, divers brought to the surface parts of a geared machine that no one understood until fifty years later when a physicist realized what the pieces could do. Sailors needed to look to the stars to help determine where they were in comparison to where they came from and where they were going. But the mathematics needed to convert the astronomical observations into useful results was extremely intricate. The Antikythera mechanism, as it is now called, used a cranked series of meshed gears to model the movements of the heavens and help the seafarers interpret their data. It may have only had one program, but this artifact is the world’s earliest computer. 16 imagine Nov/Dec 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011
Big Questions
In My Own Words
Latin Geek
Latin in Rome
Made in Greece ... or Was It?
Classics for All
Pillaging the Past
The Aqueduct Hunters
What’s Old is News
Selected Opportunities & Resources
Girls on Ice
Nurturing a Passion for Science at the National Youth Science Camp
Off the Shelf
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options
One Step Ahead
Planning Ahead for College
Students Review
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Game

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011