Leonardo da Vinci (Giants of Science)
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Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks are mind-boggling evidence of a fifteenth-century scientific genius standing at the edge of the modern world, basing his ideas on observation and experimentation. This book will change children’s ideas of who Leonardo was and what it means to be a scientist.
feasting, the duke stopped the music. He raised the curtain on Leonardo’s latest creation: a gigantic revolving stage shaped like an enormous half-egg. Inside floated models of what were then considered the seven planets—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the sun, and the moon. Earth was not considered a planet, and Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto hadn’t been discovered yet. Each planet revolved in its orbit, along with the signs of the zodiac illuminated by torches behind colored glass. Other
the steam engine hundreds of years later; at the very least, he understood the concept of steam as power. He also proposed using solar energy, trapped by mirrors he invented, to help out the textile industry. And, of course, there was mastery of the air, his favorite and most obsessive dream. His notebooks played endlessly with this theme. He drew parachutes, gliders made from silk and reeds, wings with all combinations of strings and pulleys, and even a sort of helicopter with a whirling spiral
of the people. It didn’t occur to anyone to teach him Latin, the international language of scholars. Leonardo was four when a major breakthrough in communication occurred. For the first time, a book was printed, following Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of movable type in 1456. The first printed book in Europe was, of course, a Bible. And soon, books—all kinds of books—were easily available. Did Leonardo have any books as a child? None of his own, certainly. His family might have owned one or
may have been imprisoned in a cell overnight or longer. Torture and other incentives were commonly used to get people to confess. But the four men didn’t; they declared their innocence. Still, for some reason, another hearing was called. Leonardo must have been frightened. Normally, parents would help out in such a crisis. But Leonardo probably dreaded his father’s reaction to this particular charge. Piero, whose notary business was thriving, needed to maintain his respectability. Artists and
much more interested in the conception of a project—figuring out how it would look or be constructed—than the completion of it. Sometimes he was so ambitious in his designs that he imagined ways of doing projects that were technically impossible, that no human could pull off. It sounds like he could be bristly to work with. He turned down commissions from people he didn’t like, or who had the nerve to treat him in a demeaning way. He hated being given orders or being rushed. Deadlines and