‘Many –in- one’ Scientist – Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 to 1519) “many talents-in-one” who earned the title “Universal man” was born in the village of Vinci near Florence in Italy in 1452.
Leonardo da Vinci was the illegitimate son of a reputed lawyer. His talents were versatile; he was an inventor, a painter, civil engineer, military engineer, astronomer, geologist, anatomist,: architect, sculptor, designer, town planner and a pioneer aeronaut — talents galore.
Scientist Leonardo Da Vinci Achievements :
: His famous painting ‘Last Supper’ was completed in 1497. The provocative smile of ‘Mona Lisa’, a painting completed in 1506 allures many a visitor in Louver Museum in France. ‘Madonna of the Rocks’ is preserved in the National Gallery, London.
2. Engineering: Vast volumes of notes written in a right-to-left script, i.e., to be read within a mirror were practiced by Leonardo, to maintain his copyright, probably. Many of his technical notes and sketches in ‘Codex Atlanticus’ were preserved in the Ambrosian Library in Milan; some 600 belonged to the British Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.
Leonardo da Vinci explored virtually every field of engineering science, from grinding of lenses to construction of canals.
In civil engineering he designed streets, canals, churches, central heating systems and other town-plans.
Leonardo da Vinci devised a novel musical instrument,— the lute— in the shape of a horse’s head.He designed a diving suit and a submarine.He was a cartographer, too.
Instrumentation: Leonardo da Vinci designed an anemometer, which is a concept to measure the speed of wind.Leonardo’s clock indicated both hours and minutes.
Though automobile was not existent then, he devised the concept of a ‘differential’. He gave idea about roller-bearings. The concept of ‘gear’ – his model of variable speed drive was a fundamental crux in automobile engineering.
Hydraulics was of special interest to Leonardo. He developed the art of irrigation and navigation, and his work with piston pumps to raise water began to be recognised as aiding agriculture.
3. Sculpture : Leonardo worked as an apprentice sculptor under Verrochio, made models of wood, marble and metal.
4. Mathematics : Leonardo, as a school boy, showed his genius in solving intricate problems. Mathematics is the mother of all sciences — it is fitting enough, this prodigy imbibed versatility and established himself as a ‘Universal man’.
5. Anatomy : Leonardo da Vinci drawings exhibit a profound understanding of the structures in the human body like skull, spine and heart. He gave detailed descriptions of the heart chambers, valves.
6. Botany : Leonardo da Vinci was aware of positive and negative heliotropism, geotropism. He pointed out the rings over the stems of a tree, depicting its age. He said that male and female plant life exists.
7. Glimpse into aeronautics : About 1490, observing birds fly, he argued that the same principle would apply to men also. But unfortunately people in Italy pooh-poohed such an idea and dubbed him as mad— “Man fly! indeed that’s impossible” was their verdict.
Leonardo da Vinci designed a flying machine, the flyer would flap the huge wings by the movement of his feet.
Leonardo da Vinci also designed a kind of helicopter with the help of pulleys.
Anyway, the seeds of thought sown by Leonardo later bore fruit when Wright brothers invented the aeroplane.
Leonardo da Vinci paintings, drawings and manuscripts show that his was the foremost creative brain/mind of those days. With his life-long pursuit of knowledge in various disciplines, he earned and deserved the title ‘Universal man’ – Talents aplenty.
Scientist Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.
Savyasachi, Arjuna in Mahabharata could shoot arrows with either arm (superior extremity) with equal dexterity.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
—Leonardo da Vinci