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Scientist Leonardo da Vinci - Essay Example

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Leonardo da Vinci was not only a man of many talents, but also had the unique talent to be a master of them all. Mention the name da Vinci today and most people will recall him as a great artist that was deeply entwined in the controversies surrounding the church and the role that his art has played in those controversies…
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Scientist Leonardo da Vinci
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Download file to see previous pages Da Vinci's art was an integral part of his science, and a way to enact the scientific discoveries that he was unlocking at the time. Leonardo da Vinci would immerse himself deeply in the observation of nature, and through meticulous study uncover the mysteries behind it. Still, it has been only recently that Da Vinci's scientific work has gained the recognition that it deserves, and the importance of his science continues to be revealed today. Leonardo Da Vinci was many things and had many talents, but when taken together he was first and foremost one of the most renowned scientists in the history of the new world.
One of the most important features about Da Vinci the Scientist is that Leonardo considered himself a scientist above all, and all his other endeavors were supporting of his understanding of science. The fact that he considered himself a scientist first can be seen in one of his most famous works of art, the Vitruvian Man. While it is fundamentally a work of art, it combines anatomy, proportion, and geometry in an effort to link man, nature, and science. In Da Vinci's version of the Vitruvian Man, he had "developed an obsession with the infinity of geometric transformation as exhibited by his attempt to square the circle" and the image he created was of a female figure with "many of the traits still deemed ideal" (Papel, Thieme, and Frodel 97-98). The image is still used by the scientific and medical community as a point of reference for form and proportion. In this way, da Vinci had found a scientific expression for the beauty of the human body that has stood the test of centuries. To da Vinci, this was not simply art, but was more importantly a work of science containing a myriad of different disciplines.
Understanding the importance of da Vinci as a scientist requires an understanding of how far ahead he was of the scientific thinking of the time. Da Vinci was one of the first and foremost proponents of the scientific method. A recent exhibit of "The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci" presented at Hampden-Sydney College noted that da Vinci, the scientist, "recorded his observations meticulously and sought explanations by comparing one natural phenomenon with another. He conducted experiments to test and verify his hypotheses, recognizing that observations and experiments had to be repeated many times before generalized conclusions could be drawn" (Hampden-Sydney College). This approach to the study of nature fundamentally changed the ways in which the scientific community approached a problem and sough to gain truth. His careful observation of nature, the application to his inventions, and the revolutionary thinking is evidenced by his flying machines. In 1483 da Vinci designed a complex machine capable of hovering that would become a helicopter 500 years later (Castillo, Lozano, and Dzul 4). According to Anderson, "Interest in the 'proper' shape for an airfoil dates as far back as the late 15th century and Leonardo da Vinci's ornithopter designs" (304). These designs reflected da Vinci's scientific understanding of nature, and his drawings were merely his method of modeling and recording the science.
In addition to being centuries ahead of the science and the scientists of his day, da Vinci was also one of the most prolific scientists in history. His scientific endeavors covered ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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