"Bang!" - Peace of the Imperial Palace disrupts the sound of a metal ball, which drops out of the head of the dragon and with a ringing falls into the mouth of one of the eight toads, evenly distributed in a circle on all sides of the world. A few days later, the Palace in the province of Henan, the exhausted messenger arrives to report to the Emperor about the earthquake, which recently happened in one of the regions of his immense country. But the Vladyka has been in the course of what happened - he learned about the earthquake immediately after the fall of the metal ball. What is this - one of the episodes of fantasy film? No - this is an ancient China, Han Empire, 132 years old.
With deep antiquity, China was a seismic region. The historical chronicles contain many information about earthquakes that destroyed whole cities before our era. For a large territory of the Han Empire, every similar earthquake was huge danger - the external enemies did not disappear to take advantage of someone else's misfortune, arranging raids on damaged cities and rabbies of disoriented residents.
To prevent such cases and help the own population on time, it was necessary to immediately learn about the tragedy and immediately move to the place of events. Where else, how not in China, should the first seismograph appear? His creator was the outstanding Ancient Chinese scientist Zhang Han.
Zhang Han was born in the family of a decendent Chinese official in 78 AD. Since childhood, showing hard work and craving for knowledge, Zhang Han has always stand out among his peers. The young man quickly moved through the career ladder, so it is not surprising that already in 37 years he took one of the most respected posts in the Han Empire - the post of the court historically astrologer. For his life, Zhang Heng invented many interesting inventions, improved Chinese geographical maps, made a great contribution to the development of mathematics. In addition, he became the first one who claimed that the light of the moon was reflected by sunlight. But the most famous his creation is the seismograph, which he presented to the emperor in 132 N.E. after the next earthquake caused great damage to the capital. If you believe the ancient Chinese authors, an amazing seismograph made it possible to register the earthquakes that occur for hundreds of kilometers from the location of the device.
Seismograph Zhang Han is not much like modern devices for measuring underground activity. It is a huge copper vessel, inside which the pendulum attached to the top was located. 8 levers were connected to the pendulum, distributed evenly around the circumference. Under the influence of the slightest underground jogs from the raging distance, the pendulum deviated to the side, activating one of the levers, which, in turn, was attached to another end to the outgoing head of the dragon with a metal ball located inside. Spring system reset the ball down into the shackles of the toad with a wide open mouth. The fallen ball created a humid ring, which was heard all over the Palace.
The seismograph appeared by the emperor, and since then has always been in working condition, ready to warn about the misfortune. This seismograph was the first in history, perpetuating the name of his creator. The fate of Zhang Han himself has changed steeply after 4 years after the invention of the device: as a result of Palace intrigues, the scientist was expelled from the capital and was appointed manager of the remote province of the empire, where he worked until the end of his life.
But the most important question remains - is the seismograph of Zhang Han really registered an earthquake, or describing his work too embellished? Interestingly, in all the preserved descriptions, much attention is paid to the appearance of the seismograph, and not the principle of its work. The device is definitely beautiful, and its design is truly original, but modern researchers would like to learn more about his inner filling. There is no doubt that the main part of the internal mechanism was a suspended pendulum with incredible accuracy of responding to underground shocks that took place at large distances. How exactly was it fixed in the vessel and what allowed him to notice the underground shocks who could not feel a person? Unfortunately, this remains the main mystery.
Of course, enthusiasts made attempts to create a similar device. All seismographs Zhang Han, who we watch the museums today are the works of modern masters. In the manufacture of insides of these seismographs, advanced materials were trying on, and the pendulum itself was made with jewelry accuracy, which, with all respect for the ancient Chinese crafts, could not be achieved two thousand years ago. Located in many parts of the world, these devices have never been able to register any earthquake. Although some of the natural disasters were quite strong and even led to numerous victims.
But, perhaps, we just underestimate the genius of the inventor, who was able to create an amazingly accurate working seismograph with almost two thousand years ago with the help of simple technologies?