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Making the Antikythera Mechanism: Rebuilding Technology that changed History

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Wojcik
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The Antikythera Mechanism is an extraordinary ancient Greek astronomical calculating machine of great sophistication. It is a key landmark in the history of science and technology. Recent research, based on new data gathered in 2005, has now established most of its structure and functions, revealing its design genius. However, its detailed mechanical construction is still poorly understood and the technological context in which it was made is largely fragmentary. Through research and experimental archaeology the project aims to explore a number of key questions:

1. How exactly was the Mechanism constructed?
2. What are the consequences for how the device was used and calibrated?
3. What does it tell us about the early language and development of mechanical design?
4. Can appreciation of the Mechanism enhance knowledge of ancient technology (& vice versa)?

This is a unique and exciting cross-disciplinary doctoral opportunity for candidates with good science, engineering or mathematics undergraduate qualifications, together with a passion for making mechanisms, devices or instruments and a creative approach to problem solving.

On the Academic side, the student will be supervised within the Faculty of Engineering at UCL by Dr Adam Wojcik, Dr Tony Freeth and Dr Lindsay MacDonald and at UCL Qatar by Dr Myrto Georgakopoulou. On the Heritage side, the student will be supervised by Dag Spicer, Chief Curator of the Computer History Museum in California, USA. On the Corporate side, supervision will be by Dr Lucy Mason, a Director of Matelect Ltd.

The first year of this four-year studentship constitutes an MRes degree, with a range of taught modules designed to strengthen the student’s knowledge of research methods in cultural heritage science, as well as mini projects and a dissertation to map out the research for the subsequent three years. Upon successful completion of the MRes, the student undertakes the doctoral component of the studentship in Years 2-4. As a SEAHA student, you will have unparalleled access to expertise and research infrastructure across three universities and almost 50 research, heritage and industrial partners. Please visit the SEAHA website (www.seaha-cdt.ac.uk) for details.

The project sits within the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA), a partnership between UCL, the University of Oxford and the University of Brighton (www.seaha-cdt.ac.uk). The overall project is funded by EPSRC and this proposal is co-funded by Matelect Ltd.

For full details on how to apply, please click on the project advert here:

Applications should not be submitted via the UCL online admissions system. Instead, they should be sent directly by email to the SEAHA Centre Manager: [email protected]

Application deadline: the position is open until filled.

UCL Taking Action For Equality.

Funding Notes

The SEAHA Studentship will cover home fees plus a stipend of a maximum of £16,726 per year (current rate) for eligible applicants (http://www.seaha-cdt.ac.uk/opportunities/eligibility-criteria/), as well as a substantial budget for research, travel, and cohort activities. Informal approaches are welcomed, should candidates have any queries about the project itself, or their suitability—please contact Dr Adam Wojcik, [email protected]

The award will be subject to a Grant Agreement between University College London, Computer History
Museum (USA) and Matelect Ltd.

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