From Antikythera to the Square Kilometre Array:
Lessons from the Ancients

From Antikythera to SKA


Kerastari, Tripolis, Greece


11-16 June 2012


Co-sponsored by:

Municipality of Tripolis

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS)
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)
Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy

Workshop photos

Publication of Proceedings in PoS.

Final Detailed workshop program

Workshop poster


Rationale ( Greek version)

More than a hundred years ago an extraordinary mechanism was found by sponge divers at the bottom of the sea near the island of Antikythera in Greece. This Antikythera mechanism is an ancient computer from about 100BC which uses bronze gears to make astronomical calculations based on cycles of the Solar System. Now, more than 2000 years after the device was lost at sea, scientists have used the latest techniques in X-ray computed tomography and reflectance imaging to understand its intricate workings.
(see Links to Antikythera Mechanism for details)

About every 5 years in the village of Kerastari in the ancient region of Arcadia in Greece experts in radio astronomy from all around the world meet to discuss their latest scientific discoveries and astronomical techniques. (see 2002 workshop and 2007 workshop)

In June 2012 we plan to hold a workshop linking modern and ancient astronomical technology through the Antikythera theme. We will explore the evolution of astrometry and computing from ancient Greece to the present, we will compare the technologies used to unravel the secrets of the Antikythera mechanism with the imaging tools of modern astronomy, and most importantly, as we pursue our vision of an exciting scientific future with telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array we can reflect on why the Antikythera technology was lost for more than a thousand years and whether this can happen again.

Themes ( Greek version)

Introduction to the Antikythera device.

Session theme: History of scientific endeavour
* History of the Antikythera device:
* who made it, why, how??
* What sort of society/culture supported such a development??
* Why did it disappear??
* History of radio astronomy:
* who, why, how??
* Why does our society support radio astronomy developments?
* How do we manage our efforts?
* Will this have a lasting impact on society or will it also be forgotten?

Session theme: The tomography link
* How did we discover the meaning of the Antikythera device??
* Have we completely figured it out?
* X-ray tomography and surface imaging
* Links between astronomy and other imaging fields: medical, art, photogrametry...
* Tomography in astronomy (cosmology, spectral line mapping, ionospheric mapping at low frequencies)
(Mixed talks on astronomy and Antikythera imaging.)

Session theme: Innovation at the Science, Engineering, Computing nexus
* What is the combination of science, engineering and computing encapsulated in the Antikythera device?
* 802.11 - a modern example of innovation due to cross-fertlisation in science, engineering, computing
* SKA as a "software" telescope
(Best opportunity for cross fertilization.)

Session theme: Positional astronomy
* What did the Antikythera device do for positional astronomy??
* Was it used for predictions or just a demonstration?
* The value of making models.
--- Are the modern computer simulations a substitute for physical models?
* Radio astronomy and astrometry?
* Eclipses and binaries.

Session theme: Computing
* Ancient computing and the Antikythera device
* Modern computing and what comes next?

Session theme: SKA and the future.
* Why did the ancient technology disappear? could it happen again?
* The SKA future with emphasis on long baselines, new technology, precision measurements of general relativistic effects as the ultimate extension of the astrometric predictions made by the Antikythera mechanism.

Confirmed Speakers

Confirmed speakers include:

Bob Frater
John O'Sullivan
Ron Ekers
Mike Kesteven
John Reynolds
Hirax Hirabayashi
Richard Schilizzi
Tim Cornwell
Panagiotis Labropoulos
Mike Garrett
Haida Liang
Steven Tingay

John Seiradakis
Mike Edmunds
Theodosis Tassios
Lefteris Tsavliris
Xenophon Moussas
Kyriakos Efstathiou
Magdalini Anastasiou
Alexander Jones
Andrew Ramsey
Tony Freeth

** Contributions to this workshop are invited. Please Register and Submit an Abstract for consideration by the SOC.

Workshop Location and Venue

The meeting will be held in the Peloponese region of Greece, in the village of Kerastari, nestled in the mountains of ancient Arcadia (close to the town of Tripolis). Time will be scheduled for discussion and interaction, as well as relaxation. The workshop will end with a large party involving the whole village.

Participation at the workshop will be limited to ~80 people due to the size of the venue. As a result some selection may be necessary. Naturally, preference will be given to participants with contributions accepted by the SOC.

Thanks to all the people who pre-registered. Full Registration and Abstract submission are now open. Please register using the web forms on this page.

Important Dates - preliminary

December 2011 1st announcement and pre-registrations begin.
Late March 2012 Final arrangements. 2nd announcement.
1 April 2012 Registration and hotel bookings open.
End April 2012 Hotel bookings close. Confirm attendance.
May 15, 2012 Registration closes. ** Extended to 10 June **
June 11, 2012 Arrival; registration; reception.
June 12-15, 2012 WORKSHOP
June 16, 2012 Post-workshop excursions; Special Vespers service by local bishop; Party.

Block Workshop Schedule

Monday 2012 June 11 Arrival. Registration and informal reception in Tripolis, ~5-9pm.
Tuesday & Wednesday 2012 June 12 & 13 Full workshop days
Thursday 2012 June 14 Half day workshop; Local excursions; Conference dinner in the village
Friday 2012 June 15 Last full day of workshop
Saturday 2012 June 16 Full-day excursion to Museum for Antikythera mechanism exhibition
Saturday 2012 June 16 Special evening mass by local bishop; followed by party in Kerastari, hosted by Tasso Tzioumis.

Our local bishop ALEXANDROS will open the workshop, and will also conduct a special evening mass on Saturday 16th May 8pm, prior to the party.
**See details in Greek**

Workshop fees, payments and assistance

The registration fee will be ~E300 for non-students and ~E150 for students and retirees. It covers the reception, light breakfast, lunch and coffee/tea every workshop day, the conference dinner, daily bus transport and publication expenses.

As the workshop is mainly self-funding with limited sponsorship, ALL participants are expected to pay registration, including invited speakers and LOC and SOC members.

In exceptional circumstances, some limited financial support may be possible. Please email directly to the workshop LOC.

** Following generous sponsorship from many institutions (see logos at the beginning of this page), including by the local government organisations, there will be no registration fees for Greek participants.

** Payments for registration will be in Euro and must be paid in cash during registration at the workshop. We regret that we have no facilities for credit card payments. There are many ATMs in town. (If anyone wishes to pay by direct bank transfer, email the worskshop LOC for bank details).

Accommodation costs are not included and must be paid directly to the hotels by the participants. Details on hotels and transporation are included in these webpages.

If an official invitation is needed for visa or other purposes, again email the workshop LOC.

Ron Ekers (Australia) (co-chair)
Steven Tingay (Australia) (co-chair)
John Seiradakis (Greece)
David Jauncey (Australia)
Tasso Tzioumis (Australia)

Magdalini Anastasiou (Greece)
Xenophon Moussas (Greece)
John Seiradakis (Greece)
Tasso Tzioumis (Australia) -- Chair

External Links


Internal Links



For more information email to: Tasso Tzioumis