Leonardo Da Vinci: The First Modern Scientist Essay

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Did Leonardo Da Vinci live in the wrong century? Leonardo lived in what is now known as Italy in the late 15th century, but it seems his mind was working in the 20th century. Leonardo certainly represented the exciting time of new ideas in the arts and sciences known as the Renaissance. Leonardo, a man with “boundless curiosity, multiple talents, and visionary imagination” (Prum 3), explored painting, sculpting, science, philosophy, and engineering. He recorded his thoughts, observations, diagrams, and drawings in notebooks that originally filled over 13,000 pages on a wide variety of topics (Byrd 30). Contained within those works are numerous gadgets, tools, machines, and inventions. The designs of Leonardo da Vinci became the …show more content…
The first record of its actual use was in 1783 when a Frenchman descended from the observatory in Montpellier using this device (McLanathan 137). Today’s parachutes are an adaptation of Leonardo’s original design (137). Leonardo’s scientific approach to the study of flight resulted in a variety of modern applications. The sketches of Leonardo provided inspiration for future designs of military weapons. Leonardo considered war “a most bestial madness”, but he designed many military inventions including a tank, a multiple firing cannon, and other weapons of war (McLanathan 103). All his inventions strove for increased firepower and speed (105). Leonardo designed an armored vehicle that had four wheels powered by men turning cranks. He mentions this type of contraption in a letter to Ludovico Sforza, the ruler of Milan, in 1481 (Hart 22-23). In 1914, when Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, he commissioned the creation of an armored vehicle which included a modern engine and caterpillar treads instead of the wheels in Leonardo’s design (Cooper 152). This vehicle became known as the tank and was a very important weapon in World War I (Stanley 22). Leonardo developed three different designs for a multiple firing cannon (Cooper 142). One design consisted of three rotating groups of guns -- one set of twelve guns ready for shooting, another twelve available for loading, and the third group of twelve cooling after use (Hart

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