This month's topics: Antikythera link to Archimedes? The Antikythera Mechanism is back in the news. As reported in the July 31 2008 Nature, new observations, using "microfocus Xray computed tomography (CT)" have allowed the discovery and deciphering of previously unknown or misunderstood dials and inscriptions on the mechanism. The report (team led by Tony Freeth of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, Cardiff) emphasizes the following details:
This story, coming so shortly before the 2008 Summer Olympics, was widely picked up by the media. Dan Vergano had a piece in the July 31 USA Today: "Antikythera Mechanism helped Greeks set Olympic schedule"; John Noble Wilford had "Discovering How Greeks Computed in 100 B.C." in that day's New York Times; The New Scientist ran "Ancient Greek computer could have roots in Archimedes' ideas" on August 2. Archimedean approximation to Penrose tiling "Archimedeanlike tiling on decagonal quasicrystalline surfaces" appeared in Nature for July 24, 2008. A Stuttgart team led by Clemens Bechinger devised an experimental apparatus that morphs a uniform triangulation of the plane into a Penrose tiling with, as an intermediate step, an Archimedeanlike tiling with rows of squares and equilateral triangles. Configuration of the monolayer as a function of the charge intensity on the quasicrystalline substrate relative to the electrostatic repulsion between the particles in the layer. a low, c intermediate, e high. Initially the particles organize themselves into an almost pure triangular lattice, oriented along one of the basis directions of the substrate. When the intensity is high, the particles replicate the quasicrystalline structure. But for an intermediate intensity, the particles approximate an archimedean tiling of the plane by squares and equilateral triangles. The images b, d, f show diffraction patterns from the monolayer, with the arrows indicating diffraction peaks also found in f. Image from Nature 454 501504, used with permission. The quasicristalline substrate was realized as the complex of optical gradients associated to the interference pattern between 5 parallel laser beams. The monolayer was formed by a colloidal suspension of highly charged polystyrene spheres of radius R = 1.45 μm. When the laser beams were turned off, electrostatic repulsion between the beads resolved them into a triangularlattice "crystalline" configuration. When the laser intensity was raised, and the interparticle repulsion was reduced, the gradients guided the beads into a quasicrystalline configuration duplicating a Penrose tiling, and giving a diffraction pattern with 10fold rotational symmetry. What is surprising is that there exists an intermediate configuration closely related to another recognizable regular structure: the planar tiling by squares and equilateral triangles, one of the "Archimedean" tilings listed by Kepler in 1619. The authors show how this elementary tiling approximates significant features of its nonperiodic cousin. The squaretriangle Archimedean tiling has quasipentagonal symmetries (the angle γ = 75^{o} is close to π/5 = 72^{o}.)
This is the title of a short item in Science for August 1, 2008. The "swinger" is golfing champion Phil Mickelson, who has made an ad for the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy in which he "tees off as equations dance in the foreground." As he explained to the House Education and Labor Committee: "I use statistics to maximize my practice. I do a drill with 3foot putts. And I can make 100% of them. But at 4 feet it's 88% and ... at 6 feet it's only 65%. So ... what I really need to do is hit my chip shots within 3 feet of the hole." The Academy trains elementaryschool teachers (1400 so far) in 1week summer sessions. Tony Phillips 
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